RSV Virus

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Prevent RSV in children

RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a highly contagious virus that is very common during the winter months and the flu vaccine won’t protect you from it.  RSV is the cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under the age of one. The CDC reports that 75,000 to 125,000 young children are hospitalized with RSV each year.

There is usually is no real treatment for the virus other than taking lots of fluids but there are some steps you can take to help keep your child from being infected. One of the best way of preventing getting RSV is minimizing exposure to sick individuals. For those families that have a relative at home that take the babies and not have them in daycare would be better, because daycare exposes you to a lot of germs. If you have school age children, make sure the wash their hands and change their clothes when they come home from school.

RSV can also affect adults especially those with compromised immune systems or asthma and those who are 65 and older.

Ways to prevent RSV in your child

There are ways to minimize the chances that your child will get infected.

  • Teach your children and care providers to practice frequent handwashing, especially after using the bathroom (including diaper changes) and before eating. You should also frequently wash toys and other objects that your children put in their mouth and all other surfaces and dispose of tissues after wiping or blowing your child’s nose.
  • Avoid close contact with other people who are sick. Make sure that your day care has a strict policy about excluding children with contagious illnesses. and don’t let anyone smoke around your baby. If you do smoke, simply smoking outside is usually not enough to decrease your child’s risk of problems.

ISN’T THERE A VACCINE FOR RSV?

Yes, there is. A new drug called palivizumab recently became available. Palivizumab is a monoclonal antibody produced by recombinant DNA technology. It is given as a series of monthly intramuscular injections beginning in the fall and continuing for approximately five months. This is a very effective antibody, but it is extremely expensive. Because of this, its use will be limited to those infants who are at the greatest risk.