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Gundersen pediatrician warns against respiratory disease, as prevalence increases



The winter months are often perfect conditions for one to get illnesses like the cold or flu.

While adults can bounce back within a few days, babies, especially under a year old, are at risk of what is called RSV, or Respiratory Syncitial Virus.

The disease often progresses from a common cold to more severe symptoms, including trouble breathing.

Jennifer Kleven, a pediatrician at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, said parents should be vigilant about who is around their child in the first few months.

“Pay attention to who is coming in and out of your house and have them wash their hands,” Kleven said. “This is a virus that lasts for a little while on counters and tables.”

Kleven added that you shouldn’t be afraid to contact your doctor, especially in the early months, to advise them of any concerns you have.

“Never hesitate to call your medical provider,” Kleven said. “It can be really difficult to know what’s happening particularly with babies in those first few months of life.”

The Centers for Disease Control says RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than one year of age.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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