BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — More and more cases of respiratory illnesses are popping up in Kern County, causing increased concerns for parents.
RSV is a virus that impacts a person's ability to breathe. It is a common cause of bronchiolitis, which is swelling in the small airways in the lungs, and pneumonia in infants. The sickness is spread by contact with fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth and can be transferred from surfaces. It's often found in classrooms and childcare centers in the winter and early spring.
Most babies have been infected at least once by the time they turn two years old but they can also become re-infected.
Kern Health officials told 23ABC this age group is at a significantly higher risk of catching RSV.
"The fact that they've never had that exposure previously, certainly can make them more vulnerable. And us, you know, all of those precautions we took, we've loosened them. We're out mixing more. We aren't wearing face coverings as much so that certainly can lend to these respiratory illnesses spreading more quickly," explained Michelle Corson with Kern County Public Health.
And it isn't just Kern County. Surges in respiratory viruses like RSV and flu are overwhelming children’s hospitals around the country. Across the U.S., some hospitals are filling up as respiratory illnesses continue to spread.
Read one mom's story about her son's experience with RSV: