Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can cause upper and lower respiratory infections which are common in children and infants. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Most children and infants show symptoms in 4-6 days of coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, and decreased appetite. In most healthy children and infants the virus lasts 1-2 weeks and does not require hospitalization. RSV infections are at the highest rate at the end of fall to early spring (6 months of the year). RSV currently has no cure or vaccine available.
Prevention of RSV
Although no vaccines are available yet, there are ways to help prevent the spread of RSV. Anyone with cold symptoms should cover their coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, and avoid close contact with others. A medication called Synagis (palivizumab) is available for babies at high risk for developing RSV to help prevent serious disease. Injections are given monthly at your doctor’s office during peak season to prevent RSV. Talk to your pediatrician to see if your child is at high risk for serious disease.
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