What parents need to know about a rise in RSV

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One year after COVID-19 prophylaxis, where cases of this common childhood illness were virtually non-existent, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) took revenge and medical professionals are concerned.

“Symptoms are virtually synonymous with common colds, such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and perhaps a slight cough, but RSV has a much higher risk of progressing from an upper respiratory tract cold to a lower respiratory tract infection. “Dr. Patrick Gabigan said. Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Pediatric Infectious Diseases Doctor. “This includes viral pneumonia or bronchiolitis with inflammation of the small airways of the lungs.”

The RSV season usually lasts from October to March, but this year in Pennsylvania, cases began to occur earlier in July and even earlier in the country, Gavigan said.

Already, more than 10% of virus tests have returned to RSV positive. On average, about 3% of the tests returned positive, he said, and the season has just begun. At the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, RSV positivity is even higher, at 13% to 16% in the last three weeks, said Wallace Green, director of the Medical Center’s Institute for Diagnostic Virology.

According to Gavigan, children with RSV are also hospitalized in children’s hospitals.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory in June, issuing a warning. Healthcare professional Older babies and toddlers may not have been exposed to normal levels of RSV for the past 15 months, which may increase their risk of serious RSV-related illness.

Who is most at risk?

“By the age of two, most children are infected with RSV and symptoms usually peak in 5 to 7 days before they resolve spontaneously,” Gavigan said. “But 1% to 3% of children will be hospitalized with it.”

The children at greatest risk of serious illness due to RSV are:

  • Premature babies born less than 29 weeks gestation
  • Very young babies, especially babies under 6 months old
  • Children under 2 years of age with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease
  • Children with weakened immunity
  • Children with neuromuscular disorders

In hospitals, children may be given oxygen and IV drip. Thankfully, RSV deaths are rare, Gavigan said.

What is the RSV danger signal?

The symptoms are so similar that parents should carefully monitor their children for signs of difficulty eating or breathing.

“Are they breathing fast or seeing them sucking a lot to breathe? Apnea (pause of breathing) is premature babies with RSV or less than a month old It’s common in babies, “he said. “Are they eating enough to maintain hydration? Anorexia is common, or they are very enthusiastic about breathing while eating.”

According to Gavigan, the only way to be sure that your child has a cold or is infected with RSV is to test with a nasal swab. “In a normal year, we don’t test that often, but this year it’s different,” he said.

Children at high risk of RSV complications are often prescribed monthly injections of palivizumab, a monoclonal antibody that helps prevent serious RSV-related lung infections and hospitalization.

How does COVID-19 affect RSV?

Little is known about the effects of coinfection, as COVID-19 raged last year and there were not many cases of RSV. But now that precautions have been relaxed, doctors have the courage to know what can happen.

“In pediatrics, we see elevated COVID and possible influenza and RSV, so the resources available to the hospital can quickly be exhausted,” Gavigan said. “This is certainly another reason to keep children masked. RSV mainly affects children under the age of two, but older. Children It acts as a spreader and you can take it back to your younger siblings. “

This can also endanger grandparents, as older people who may have weakened immunity and may have other underlying conditions are also at increased risk of RSV-related complications. There is, Mr Gavigan said.

Can it be prevented?

The absence of RSV and influenza last season is evidence that precautions can help prevent the spread of bacteria.

“Wash your hands often, wear a mask, and if you’re sick, stay home and get the flu shot,” Gavigan said. Children over 6 months can be safely vaccinated against the flu.

Although RSV spreads through respiratory droplets, it can inhabit surfaces and objects, so disinfecting high-contact areas such as doorknobs and countertops is an important alternative to prevent infection. ..

Don’t believe the vaccine myth

Quote: Medical Minutes: https: // about the rise of RSV (2021, October 14) acquired on October 14, 2021 What parents need to know

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