FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth are warning parents of young children after a recent spike in cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV.

Dr. Ramon Kinloch, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s said, “RSV is something to be taken very seriously.”

Officials at Cook Children’s said last week they treated 178 confirmed cases of RSV in young children. Ninety percent of those kids ended up in the emergency room.

Doctors say they are seeing a peak in the spread of RSV much earlier than usual.

Dr. Kinloch said the symptoms present themselves similar to a common cold and usually the body can fight it off, but if the body can’t do that and it goes untreated it can become much more dangerous in younger patients.

“They can develop worsening respiratory symptoms that can lead to pneumonia or respiratory failure and those are the ones that will need hospital visits,” he said.

Dr. Kinloch said the best way to combat the spread of RSV in children is a easy.

“Hand washing is going to be the number 1 way to minimize spread and prevent that spread of that.”

Should your child come down with RSV or symptoms that worry you as a parent, doctors say don’t hesitate to see a physician.

“If you’re worried about those symptoms worsening and there is more that you need to do certainly check with your doctor,” Dr. Kinloch said.

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