RSV: What parents need to know

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Respiratory Synctial Virus is like a common cold, but could be more serious in your little kids.

"I really had no idea that RSV could be this bad," said Amanda Wendorff, who is caring for a child with RSV.

"The virus inflames that respiratory tract and that inflammation produces symptoms," said Dr. Joe Childs, who is chief medical officer for East Tennessee Children's Hospital. "It can start as something pretty mild with congestion, maybe a mild cough, but it can progress in the vulnerable population."

Kids could have problems breathing, especially the littlest ones.

"If you are really young, or you were born prematurely, or if you have lung or heart problems, it can be a dangerous illness," said Childs.

Doctors said most of the time it can be treated at home.

"When you need the hospital, it's usually because they need some help with either fluids or oxygen because they aren't doing as well with normal air," said Childs.

Childs said over the last month they're helping more than 64 kids battle RSV, which is a high number.

"It has us on alert that this could be a rough season," said Childs.

It could be hard to experience for parents.

Doctors said the best way to prevent it is to wash your hands before you hold your baby.

"There's so many things going through my mind right now," said Wendorff. "Is she going to be okay? How long is it going to be?"