SSM Health: What to watch for as respiratory illness surges this summer

MADISON, Wis. —  Winter is typically when we see a widespread surge in respiratory illness, but in 2021, we’re seeing that surge right now. SSM health emergency physician Brian Mamerow says he’s seeming many young patients in the emergency department with RSV.

“RSV is respiratory syncytial virus,” says Mamerow, “and it is a virus that affects the respiratory tract. It’s a virus the people of any age can get. In adults, usually it’s more just cold symptoms that it causes. In small children it can do the same, but in the real young kids, especially in the first couple years of life, it can cause bronchiolitis, which basically will give them difficulty breathing.”

This is a trend being seen nationally. The CDC even issued a health advisory notifying health care providers about the increased activity in the southern United States. Dr. Mamerow says typical cold symptoms can be monitored at home, but if your child has a hard time breathing or is very lethargic, to see a doctor immediately. As always, for more, you can reach out to us online at