If you're a parent of a small child or have raised small children you know these three letters, R-S-V. That's the more common name given to Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It's a respiratory ailment that can seriously affect the health of infants and very young children.

The signs and symptoms of R-S-V are very similar to those of the flu. There is a lot of sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and loss of appetite. Area doctors have noted an increase in cases of R-S-V in the Acadiana area over the past few weeks.

The good news is that most cases of the virus will go away in about two weeks. However, those two weeks can be quite tenuous for parents and healthcare providers. Some of the complications from R-S-V, dehydration the most serious, can actually require a child to be hospitalized for treatment.

Healthcare professionals suggest that parents get their child to a doctor or clinic sooner than later if they encounter the symptoms, described above, in their child. Doctors say it's especially important to seek medical attention if the child appears to be having difficulty breathing.