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01 Dec 2021

'More contagious than Covid' - Doctor warns of respiratory virus outbreak in children

'More contagious than Covid' - Doctor warns of respiratory virus outbreak in children

Dr. Duffy said parents can expect to hear reports of other children, be it in school or in a creche, being sick.

A doctor has warned parents that an outbreak of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in children is "more contagious" than Covid that parents can expect to hear reports of other children, be it in school or in a creche, being sick.

Dr. Duffy outlined that different viruses, including those seen specifically in children, share similar symptoms with Covid, but that the highly infectious nature of RSV means that it is currently presenting as more contagious than Covid.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Monday, Dr Illona Duffy noted that her Monaghan practice is seeing a "massive rise" in the general viruses that doctors would traditionally see around this time of year.

When asked how infectious the virus is, she said:
 
"Very infectious. Definitely on the ground and in [the] general practice we're seeing that where classroom-loads of kids are all going out sick, my own family I'm seeing it where all my kids have been sick with it.

"Definitely, we're seeing this as much more contagious than even Covid. I think that's to be expected – if you have one child in your house who is sick and suddenly everybody is sick you know this is more likely to be viral because bacteria don't spread as quickly.

"So, again, it can give you some bit of reassurance that you can monitor your child, you can treat their temperatures, push the fluids – don't mind if they're not eating too much as long as they're drinking and getting that little bit of sugar; that it's not just water you're giving them because then they can actually go low and become hypo-glycemic."

"We'd normally say if they have temperatures going beyond three days, we would kind of be concerned, especially if they're very high and hard to control," she said.

"Or if their breathing is getting worse or if they had low temperatures and then a few days later the temperature is getting worse and the child is getting worse and not improving – that may indicate that because of that wheezing and that tightening of the airways; mucus hasn't been able to get up and get out, they're developing that secondary bacterial infection."

Dr. Duffy also noted that there is no vaccine available for RSV at the moment but pointed parents in the direction of the HSE's 'Under the Weather' website if they have concerns.

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