EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Thursday afternoon, officials with the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a public health advisory on the dangers of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

RSV is a respiratory virus that affects mostly children but can also develop cold-like symptoms in adults. City health officials warn that RSV can be serious in some children, particularly young infants, those with certain conditions or those born premature.

“What we are seeing across our city, state and country is the rapid rise of respiratory illnesses, including RSV, Flu and others which is very concerning for the upcoming winter season.”

“Prevention is the key, and we have seen that safety precautions such as washing your hands, staying home, being careful around others when we are sick, and wearing a mask around those who are at higher risk will help prevent many of these respiratory infections”

Dr. Hector Ocaranza – City-County Health Authority

RSV infections are common in the fall and winter but may also be present in early spring. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the pattern of infection greatly changed.

Officials share that with the implementation of social distancing, mask and other health precautions the community saw a dramatic decrease in RSV and Flu infections. However, as restrictions have relaxed, the community is now seeing a sharp rise in respiratory infections especially among young children.

RSV causes cold symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, fever, sneezing and cough.

According to health officials, some infants can develop bronchiolitis and pneumonia from RSV. Those infants may develop any of these warning signs and symptoms: wheezing, fast and labored breathing, grunting, poor feeding and even turn purple.

Health officials offer recommendations for parents with young children:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people, particularly in crowded places
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before holding your baby
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently and before meals, after using restroom or after playing
  • Daily baths help prevent infections
  • For children, provide well balanced meals
  • Give medications as prescribed by your baby’s physician. This if your baby is taking any medication for a chronic condition
  • If the parent is sick, you may wear a mask and wash hands frequently or ask a family member or relative for help caring for your baby
  • If your child is sick contact your baby’s healthcare provider for further recommendations
  • If any of the warning signs described previously, seek immediate medical attention

Public Health Officials also urge residents to get their flu shot. The City’s Community Clinics are offering free flu shots to those 6 months of age and older and require no appointment or insurance.

Officials say that City Community Clinics are open for vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the following locations:

  • 9341 Alameda
  • 7380 Remcon
  • 9566 Railroad
  • 220 S. Stanton (corner of First and Stanton)

The complete advisory can be found at EPStrong.org under the Guidance tab for Residents. For more information visit, EPHealth.com or call 2-1-1 for a referral to services.

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