There have been some outbreaks of RSV cases nationwide, and Sioux City is seeing increases in the virus that is usually associated with infants and the elderly.
Mercy One Doctor, Steven Joyce, says the most recent cases have been among older adults. “Really anybody can get RSV it’s just a matter of how susceptible you are. It is true that it’s more severe in the very young and the very old — and we are seeing an uptick in the older population and the reasons for that aren’t entirely clear, but we are seeing it and again, the severity of it can be worse especially in those who have emphysema, COPD, heart failure, and other complicated medical conditions,” Joyce says.
He says people who get sick with RSV might think they have a cold, and some worry it could be COVID. “It mimics kind of a common cold but kind of a little bit worse. So it’s the runny nose congestion, cough. Infants will have more rapid breathing, things like that. They won’t feed as well, especially if they’re very young,” according to Joyce. “High spiking fevers and such isn’t as super common with RSV as it is maybe with influenza or even COVID-19.”
He says the only thing that can be done about RSV is to let it run its course. “There is no specific treatment for RSV. There are no antivirals that are effective there’s no antibiotics of course because as we’ve learned antibiotics do not kill viruses. Really we’re at supportive care so in those people who have a lot of secretions, trying to get those up and keep those secretions thin,” Joyce says.
The virus is spread by people coughing and sneezing and from surfaces. Doctor Joyce says frequent hand washing is a way to prevent it — and you should stay home if you are ill. He says it will usually run its course in seven to ten days.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)