The respiratory virus, RSV, is causing an unprecedented number of hospitalizations across the state and at Vail Health Hospital. RSV is a common respiratory virus that typically causes mild cold-like symptoms, such as a cough and congestion. However, RSV can manifest in more severe ways that require medical intervention, especially among young children.
There is no existing cure for RSV, so treatment is focused on reducing symptoms. Dr. Meegan Leve, a pediatrician at Colorado Mountain Medical, said that clearing nasal passages, administering Tylenol or Motrin to reduce fever, and encouraging hydration and rest are the best ways to help patients weather the virus.
Dr. Janet Engle, another pediatrician at Colorado Mountain Medical, said that those at risk of more severe symptoms are the very young — under 2 months old — or those with immune deficiencies.
“Children that have underlying medical conditions will tend to get a worse case of RSV, and it can cause inflammation of the very small airways, which makes it harder to breathe out air,” Engle said. “The kids that would need hospitalization would be the kids who have a very high oxygen need, kids that need such frequent suction that you can’t do that at home, kids who can’t keep down fluids or say, a baby who can’t take his bottle and needs IV hydration.”
The CDPHE recommends that parents keep children home from school until at least 72 hours from the onset of symptoms, and Engle emphasized that children not return to classrooms until 24 hours after a fever has passed or a severe cough has abated.