Health officials at Children's Hospital Central California say they're seeing an epidemic of RSV, or "Respiratory Syncytial Virus". Doctors say the virus is often mistaken for the common cold, but it can be very serious for babies since they haven't built up the immunity to fight it off.
The virus is passed from one child to another through contact. It usuallystarts as a sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and makes it hard to breath.
Doctors say it strikes during the winter more often because kids are aroundso many people during the holidays.
They say this year, business at the hospital is booming, "We arepacked. Our numbers being seen in the emergency room have gone from 200 saythis time of year last year, to over 350 some days," says Dr. RobertKezirian.
So what can you do to protect your child? Doctors say don't take babies togrocery stores or malls, keep them away from other children who might be sick,and wash your hands often.