Preventing childhood respiratory illnesses

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - It’s cold and flu season and lots of kids are coughing and sneezing. There are many types of respiratory illnesses going around.

Dr. Amit Patel with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says the most common contagious illnesses they're seeing are respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and bronchiolitis.

RSV is a highly contagious virus, which can cause infection of the lungs and breathing passages. It is spread through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. A child who is struggling to breathe and refusing to eat and drink may have RSV.

RSV can develop into bronchiolitis. The tiny airways that lead to the lungs become inflamed, swell with mucus and can make it very difficult for your child to breathe.

Prevention is key. Remember to wash your hands regularly and clean surfaces with disinfectant. Keep school-aged children with a cold away from babies until symptoms have passed.

Bring uyour child to the emergency room if he or she is struggling to breathe, has a high fever, signs of dehydration  - sunken eyes, lack of tears or urine output, listlessness - or worsening cough.

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