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RSV or the flu? What parents need to watch for in their kids

There's a common respiratory illness that parents need to know about that leaves their little ones vulnerable.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The flu continues to dominate doctor's offices but parents should be aware of another illness being reported that kids are vulnerable to catching. 

When you talk about illnesses this time of year, it's impossible to avoid the flu. It's worth noting again that the flu virus is sending many people to the hospital and doctor's offices across the area. In fact, three of the Novant offices included in this report said the flu remains the biggest threat to the public. 

That said, there's another respiratory illness you need to know about: RSV. Novant Health Pediatrics Blakeney is reporting that cases of RSV are on the rise. 

So what is RSV? It's short for respiratory syncytial virus and it's the cause of most cases of bronchitis and pneumonia. 

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While it may sound scary, the Centers for Disease Control say it's actually a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms that most people recover from in a week or two. However, RSV can be serious, especially for babies under 6 months and older adults. 

According to the CDC, the symptoms of RSV come in stages and usually include runny nose, a decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. 

Here's where it gets tricky. Babies with RSV might not have a lot of symptoms. Parents should be on the look out for things like increased irritability, decreased activity and difficulty breathing. 

RELATED: First pediatric flu death reported in North Carolina

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RELATED: CDC warns flu vaccine does not match the virus hitting children especially hard

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