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INDIANAPOLIS–Doctors believe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is worse this year in Indiana. They think a big reason for that is that people are taking less precautions against COVID-19 and other viruses now compared to 2020 and 2021.

When the pandemic hit, people wore masks and socially distanced more often. That caused respiratory illnesses like RSV to circulate at “historically low levels,” said the CDC. Now that people are easing up on COVID-19 precautions, they are also coming back into contact with pathogens that have existed with RSV.

Hospitals across Indiana are seeing large numbers of RSV cases this month.

“We’re busy. We’ve been full a lot of the last two weeks and we’re shifting a lot of kids in and out. In the ICU, we had a couple free beds but we are filling those already so we’re trying to get kids in as fast as we can, move them out, only to fill them up again,” said Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital PICU Medical Director Dr. Kay Sichting.

Sichting says it’s reaching more age groups.

“We’re seeing toddlers getting sicker than we’ve seen previously and they end up getting hospitalized when usually they’re just at home with a bad cold. Then we’re also seeing of course our infants that we see every time RSV comes around,” said Sichting.

Sichting says there are things you can do to prevent RSV and they are probably things you’ve heard before.

“We have masks. Wear masks. Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, don’t have people visit you who are sick. Just like we’ve really seen with COVID, it can decrease illness. Same thing for RSV,” said Sichting.

Children with RSV tend to feel the worst at day 5 of infection. Infection can last around 7-10 days. If your child isn’t getting better after 7 days, is struggling to breathe, or has blue-tinted lips, you are urged to take them to the nearest emergency room.