CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. – Like most parents, Abigail Hoyle takes precautions to make her 9-month-old son healthy.
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She knows about a respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, highly infectious respiratory virus that infects the lungs and can lead to serious health problems for children under the age of one.
What she did not know until her WSOC TV had told her that doctors at the Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, North Carolina, already saw babies who had been admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit with RSV and a lack of oxygen.
Doctors at the Catawba Valley Medical Center said they usually did not see patients with the virus until after Thanksgiving.
"I feel nervous when I came out," Hoyle said.
Neonatolog Dr. Samuel Wellman said RSV cases this early means that the season begins earlier or will be worse than usual.
"It's a very high rate of infection," Wellman said.
Adult adults up to adults who have RSV probably never know it, and tend to have only symptoms of colds.
"Even the cold may be RSV and you may not know it so you can not take a chance with your health because something we can get over a week can be hospitalized," Hoyle said.
RSV is very common. In fact, the CDC said nearly every child would have a virus for their second birthday, but there is no vaccine or treatment.
"What parents need to know is that their baby has symptoms of colds, they probably do not have to go to a pediatrician." If their baby starts with very fast breathing or pulling, having a hard time, breathing, or having problems feeding with a breathing need to see pajamas, "Wellman said.
Hoyle said she would continue to take additional precautions.
"Probably just keep it in public, even before, which is difficult because of the holidays and the visit of the family."
Doctors say there is a possible silver lining. Earlier season for RSV began, earlier it is prone to end, which is usually around March or April.
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