Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is nothing new to the pediatric world. The illness, which causes symptoms such as runny nose and cough, typically spikes in the winter months. But in the aftermath of the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors are reporting an unexpected surge of the virus among infants and toddlers, and parents are taking to social media to share photos of their little ones battling the virus.
Thankfully, Dr. Jason Terk, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Pediatrics in Keller, Texas, says that the vast majority of those who get RSV — including those below the age of 2 — recover from the virus without much need for treatment. “We’ve seen many, many, many children with RSV and a very, very small minority of those kids end up getting into trouble that requires hospitalization,” Terk tells Yahoo Life.
Still, he admits that the current increase in cases is a major deviation from the standard cycle of RSV. “It’s unprecedented,” says Terk. “If you look at typical RSV, it’s a type of illness that we see usually starting in late fall into the wintertime and then goes away usually by late winter, early spring.”