BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Doctors warn that cases of a common childhood respiratory virus are on the rise.

It could be a difficult season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). For adults, the virus may start off as a common cold or an upper respiratory tract infection, but if a baby catches your cold, it can turn into something more sinister.

The viral infection is predicted to be severe this year — it will come early and last longer than usual, according to experts at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Typically, the season for the virus runs from November to March or April.

Symptoms of RSV include: (Source: CDC)

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Children under the age of one year are most at risk. Infants under six months old are at an even greater risk.

Dr. Leroy Eberly, a hospitalist for Akron Children’s Hospital, said they have already seen children as old as two years old and infants in the emergency room with the virus.

“It can result in the child being hospitalized, and it can potentially be a life-threatening situation for them,” Eberly said.

RSV is a viral illness, so antibiotics won’t work. Eberly said the treatment is supportive care.

“We keep the baby safe and comfortable while their body fights the infection. They may need supplemental oxygen. They may need IV fluids,” he said.

Protecting young children from the virus is imperative. Good handwashing habits help. Also, make sure to keep children away from other people who are sick.