LONG BRANCH, NJ – RSV, which stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is an easily spread virus most common from fall to spring. While most babies who get RSV just get what seems like a cold, it can cause pneumonia and other lung problems. In severe cases it can sometimes lead to respiratory failure so that the child needs a ventilator to help breath and rarely this can result in death.
Babies born prematurely (at 35 weeks or less) and babies born with heart disease or chronic lung disease are at greater risk for RSV. Signs of RSV include stuffy/runny nose, sneezing and a fever. Severe RSV can include wheezing, coughing, and trouble breathing.
“You might also see difficulty eating, drinking or sleeping,” explains Meg Fisher, MD, chairman of Pediatrics and medical director of the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center. “If the baby is having trouble catching her breath or is unable to drink her bottle, let your doctor know right away.”
The best protection against RSV it to have everyone wash his or her hands before touching your baby. Other ways to protect against infection and illness are:
- Keep people who have colds away from your baby, including siblings
- Keep your baby away from crowds
- Be sure NOT to smoke around your baby
“There is no vaccine against RSV yet but there is a medication called pulimizavab (Synagis®) which is a shot which is recommended for prematurely born babies and others who are at high-risk for severe RSV disease,” says Dr. Fisher. “Babies who need this medication receive monthly shots during RSV season.”
Dr. Fisher said parents should call their doctor or health care provider if their child has a trouble catching his breath, or is becoming dehydrated because he is unable to take his bottle.
RSV infections can last for one or more weeks and can reoccur more than once, Dr. Fisher said. Ear infections are fairly common with RSV and may require antibiotics.
RSV is very contagious. As with most infections, keeping young children away from other sick children and adults is important. Diligent and frequent handwashing is our best defense. ” Dr. Fisher said.
For more information on the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center or for referral to a pediatrician, call1-888-724-7123.
Date: December 18, 2008
CONTACT: Kristine A. Brown
Director of Public Relations
[ top ] [ back to news index ]