RSV is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of infants by the age of 2. RSV occurs in epidemics, typically from November through March in most of the U.S., but the “RSV season” can vary by geography and from year to year.
In many babies, the virus leads to a mild respiratory infection with symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, but in some it can develop into a much more serious infection. In fact, severe RSV disease:
·Is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States
·Causes approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year in the United States
·Results in up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year than the flu
·Is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
I interviewed pediatrician Carolyn Clear and patient advocate Lindsay Mathis to learn more.
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 be sick 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
Where can I learn more about RSV?
·Tips on talking to your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors
·Data about the RSV season in your area
·Real stories of families’ experiences with RSV