ALEXANDRIA, La. — In recent months, pediatricians have seen widespread cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in the southern states. RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold symptoms in children. Young children may have more severe symptoms.
Now, with the highly contagious Delta strain of COVID-19 and vaccines not available to children under 12, pediatricians are seeing children with RSV and COVID.
dr. Bridgett Foreman, a physician of internal medicine and pediatrics at CHRIST St. Francis Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria, said a positive test for RSV does not rule out COVID-19. So children should be tested for both.
dr. Bridgett Foreman
“And so, if we fall into that trap of saying, ‘Oh, well, they don’t have COVID because they have RSV,’ then of course that kid still needs to be kept away from other kids because RSV is also contagious.” ,” she said. “But we may not adequately identify other people who have been exposed to COVID because we missed COVID in that child, and we do know that children can spread COVID. And so it’s important to be suspicious of any of those symptoms that could be consistent with COVID. ”
Foreman said any child with symptoms should be tested. And if symptoms persist after a day or two, get tested again.
“And I think you have to assume that by taking those risks, you know it’s necessary to go to this birthday party? Is it necessary to go to the supermarket and bring the whole family? Is it necessary to visit grandparents if there are contagious symptoms?” said Foreman. “If you think it’s allergies, you think it’s sinus, even with a negative test, I would reassess the importance of doing those things and trying to keep sick people at home and out of these public settings and away from other family members who may be at risk.”
Symptoms for RSV and COVID may look similar. So, Foreman says parents need to be vigilant. And if their child shows signs of being sick, make sure the doctor tests for both.