It’s not just COVID-19 that’s filling up pediatric ICU beds in Collin County. The other culprit is RSV. | Shutterstock

Last week we published an article about the COVID-19 Delta variant causing a severe shortage of pediatric ICU beds across North Texas.

However, there’s an additional culprit behind Collin County’s pediatric hospitalizations: a virus called RSV.

What is RSV?

This virus, known as respiratory syncytial virus, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms but can be serious for young children, sometimes turning into bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

Cook Children’s reported 190 RSV cases the week of July 26 to July 30. From the week of August 1 to August 7t, Children’s Health had 226 positive cases, 95 of which were in Plano.

According to Mark Mazade, Cook Children’s Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention, RSV can cause children to be on ventilators for up to eight weeks.

People with the virus are usually contagious for three to eight days, but those with weakened immune systems remain contagious for up to four weeks. The virus can survive for hours on hard surfaces such as desks and keyboards, making it even more likely to spread as kids go back to school.

How to avoid catching RSV

Prevent the spread of this virus by adopting these simple but effective measures (and instruct children to do the same):

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Sanitize hard surfaces
  • Wear a mask

If your child contracts RSV, make sure to keep them hydrated. Use a fever-reducer like acetaminophen (according to your physician’s advice… always check!), and use a vaporizer to keep the air moist and more breathable for the affected child.

Read more: Plano ISD requests authority to mandate masks in schools.

Read about the Covid-19 Delta variant’s impact on Collin County.

Vaibhavi Hemasundar

Vaibhavi Hemasundar is an undergraduate at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She loves singing, film photography, and devouring book after book.