THE council is urging parents to be aware of a childhood disease they say could be more widespread than in previous years.

RSV is a common virus causing colds and coughs but can be more severe in some children.

According to Worcestershire County Council, cases are higher than usual for this time of year as COVID-19 restrictions ease and children mix more.

Bronchiolitis is almost always caused by a viral infection. In most cases, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is responsible.

RSV is a very common virus and almost all children are infected with it by the time they're 2 years old.

In older children and adults, RSV may cause a cough or cold, but in young children it can cause bronchiolitis.

According to Public Health England, Bronchiolitis is usually mild.

Several things can increase a child's likelihood of developing the infection.

These include:

  • Being breastfed for less than 2 months, or not at all
  • Being exposed to smoke (for example, if parents smoke)
  • Having brothers or sisters who attend school or nursery, as they're more likely to come into contact with a virus and pass it on

There are also a number of factors that can increase the risk of a child developing more severe bronchiolitis.

These include:

  • Being under 2 months of age
  • Having congenital heart disease
  • Being born prematurely (before week 37 of pregnancy)
  • Having chronic lung disease of prematurity (when injury to the lungs causes long-term respiratory problems in premature babies)

In most cases, bronchiolitis is mild and gets better within 2 to 3 weeks without needing treatment.

A small number of children will still have some symptoms after 4 weeks.

In a few cases, the infection is severe enough to require hospital treatment.

If you're looking after your child at home, check on them regularly, including throughout the night.

Contact your GP or out-of-hours service if their condition worsens.

There's no medicine that can kill the virus that causes bronchiolitis, but you should be able to ease mild symptoms and make your child more comfortable.