Respiratory Syncytial Virus infects the respiratory tract of young children (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Concerned doctors are bracing themselves for a sudden surge in potentially dangerous viruses that are common in children.

Respiratory viruses could soar by up to 50 per cent this winter, the NHS have warned.

Speaking last week, Professor Simon Kenny said in the "worst case scenario" cases of viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may double in the months ahead.

Children have not been exposed to RSV over the past 15 months because they haven't been in school as much as usual due to the pandemic.

He explained: "The most likely potential model is a 20-50 per cent increase in children with respiratory infections.

Respiratory viruses could soar by up to 50 per cent this winter, the NHS have warned
(Image: Getty Images)

"That’s largely due to the fact that we’ve got a significant cohort of children now who have never had the normal viruses."

The British Lung Foundation says RSV is a major cause of respiratory illness in young kids, and suggest it can infect the lungs and the breathing.

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The Professor went on to say that pressure will grow on A&E and primary care services because of the rise.

There are six main symptoms to look out for if you are concerned your child could have a respiratory virus.

Here are the ones you need to watch out for.

Stuffy nose

Is a stuffy nose is having an impact on breathing?
(Image: Getty Images/Blend Images)

Nasal issues are of course common with many children.

Hay fever also adds to the complication – and it's easy to mistake these symptoms for RSV.

But parents are told that if the stuffy nose is having an impact on breathing, then it could possibly be a symptom of RSV.

Sore throat

A sore throat could be another sign of RSV, doctors say.

If they are struggling to eat or drink then it is important to pay attention.

A painful throat is not uncommon, especially in the winter, but if a child complains of discomfort then it is worth being cautious.


Children have not been exposed to RSV over the past 15 months
(Image: Getty Images)

If your child has RSV it's likely they will be suffering from a cough.

Many viruses begin with a sore throat, before progressing to an uncomfortable cough.

If your child develops a new and persistent cough, then it is crucial they are tested for Covid-19.


A fever is a natural cause for concern for any parent.

The NHS says that a temperature of 38c and over, it means that a child has a fever.

Especially as it's another symptom of Covid-19.

The NHS states: "Many things can cause a high temperature in children, from common childhood illnesses like chickenpox and tonsillitis, to vaccinations."

Generally feeling unwell

You know your child better than anyone
(Image: Getty Images)

Most parents are told every week by their children that they aren't feeling well.

You know your child – and most know if there's a problem ahead.

If you're worried, you should contact your GP for advice.

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Headaches are also really common with children who have RSV.

They can be caused by dehydration if they have been sweating a lot – so water is important.

Did you know that you can buy hydration powders from your local pharmacy?