Local health experts say early RSV cases are troubling sign for coming flu season

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A virus that’s more typical in cold weather months has arrived in Northeast Tennessee during these hot summer months.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, more commonly known as RSV, is a common cause of cold-like symptoms. However, it can cause serious sickness for infants and the elderly.

Doctor Patricia Chambers, Chief Medical Officer at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, told News Channel 11 that the presence of RSV is not a good sign of what’s to come as flu season approaches.

“Because of the lifting of mask restrictions and congregating again that when kids go back to school in the fall, because their immune system didn’t have much of a challenge last year, that we are going to have a very strong respiratory viral season, as well as perhaps a vigorous flu season as well.”

Dr. Chambers says parents should make sure their children are up-to-date on their shots and are avoiding environmental dangers.

“So, big thing you can do to keep your baby healthy is make sure that their sure immunizations are up to date. Make sure they go to all their well-child checks with their pediatrician,” Dr. Chambers said. “Environmental things like keeping cigarette smoke away from every infant, not smoking in the car, not smoking in the house, not allowing people who smoke being around your baby.”

According to Dr. Chambers, one reason for the rise in RSV cases can be attributed to more testing being done. More viral tests have been ordered during the time of COVID-19.

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