NEW YORK (PIX11) — Some doctors across the U.S. are growing increasingly more concerned about three viral threats this winter season. There’s COVID, there’s the flu, and now R.S.V., a common respiratory virus that is most prevalent in young children. 

PIX11 spoke with NYU Langone pediatrician, Dr. Sara Siddiqui, on how families can keep their loved ones safe this holiday season. 

Watch the full interview HERE

Q: Are cases of any/all of these diseases on the rise in NYC this year, compared to where we were this time in 2021?

Dr. Siddiqui: We are definitely seeing a higher than normal amount of RSV and Influenza compared to this time last year. In years past, these illnesses would spike closer to January or February.

Q: Do any of the symptoms appear differently in adults vs kids?

Dr. Siddiqui: Children may show increased levels of congestion and cough, especially young children who may have smaller airways that are more prone to becoming overwhelmed with mucus or inflammation. Adults and older children with any history of asthma or other respiratory issues, or those who are immuno-compromised, can also have more secretions leading to difficulty breathing.

Q: With no vaccine for RSV available at this time, what precautionary measure can parents take to prevent their kids from contracting the virus? 

Dr. Siddiqui: RSV is a respiratory virus that can be spread through respiratory secretions in cough and congestion. Washing hands frequently, avoiding touching the mouth and nose, and staying home when sick all help to reduce spread.

Some precautionary measures I would advise are: 

  • Ensure optimal immune health by eating healthy and sleeping well
  • Drink lots of fluids to maintain optimal hydration 
  • Wash your hands frequently 
  • Ask your doctor about flu/COVID vaccines if you’re eligible: We encourage everyone 6 months and older to receive their annual flu vaccine which can help to reduce severity of illness and hospitalization.

Also, stay home if you or anyone in the family is sick or has a fever to avoid spread. If you plan on gathering for the holidays, try to ventilate the area by opening windows which will assist in reducing the spread of any illness.