Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of infants by the age of 2. RSV has similar symptoms to the common cold or flu, but in some it can develop into a much more serious infection. It causes approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year in the United States. RSV occurs in epidemics, typically from November though March in most the U.S. As parents, it’s important to know about the symptoms to help protect children during RSV season.
What are the symptoms of severe RSV disease? Potential signs of severe RSV disease that parents should not ignore include:
• Coughing or wheezing that
does not stop
• Fast or troubled breathing
• Spread-out nostrils and/or
a caved-in chest when trying
• Bluish color around the
mouth or fingernails
• Fever (especially if it is
over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age)
Can RSV disease be prevented?
There is currently no treatment for RSV infection, so prevention is critical. All parents especially parents of high-risk babies should learn steps they can take to help protect their children from contracting RSV. Preventive methods include: • Washing your hands and ask others to do the same • Keeping toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean • Avoiding crowds and being around people, including young children, who may besick during RSV season • Asking your child’s pediatrician if he or she may be at high-risk and ways you can protect a high-risk baby
For more information, including tips on talking to your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors, data about the RSV season in your area and real stories of families’ experiences with RSV visit www.RSVprotection.com.