• VIDEO: 'Help available' says primary health practitioners as cases of RSV rise

VIDEO: 'Help available' says primary health practitioners as cases of RSV rise

Health Hawke's Bay is urging people to seek support if they need as the flu-like Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) puts hospital wards and general practices throughout New Zealand under pressure.

Health Hawke's Bay Nurse Director Primary Care, Emma Patel, says RSV is actually a "really common virus" that affects children under two and some older adults with underlying health conditions.

Although the name may seem foreign, Mrs Patel says chances are you or your children may have had the virus. RSV is an intensely seasonal virus, we see spikes of it every winter. It circulates in our communities always and often comes back worse in winter," she said.

However, due to lockdown and people observing social distancing and hygiene measures, the virus was almost non-existent last year. "This year with all of us back to normal pretty much we're seeing it rise in our communities and it has been very busy for our primary care and secondary care providers over the last few weeks."

Like any other respiratory virus, Mrs Patel says people might notice a runny or congested nose, coughing, headache, fevers or general feeling unwell. "The most important thing to do if you're sick is to stay home, keep yourself away from people to prevent the spread of this or any other illness."

"If you think that your children are not getting any better, or are getting worse, and if they are having difficulty breathing or have a persistent cough, please seek advice from your healthcare professional."

"It is also important to recognise that having an unwell baby or person in your whanau does create extra stress and pressure, so if you or your whanau are feeling under pressure, please seek advice from a provider, whether that's a general healthcare provider, Māori health provider, Taiwhenua or a social services provider, to make sure that you have all the support that you need."