Home Health Ask the Doctors | Early RSV season primarily impacts infants – Times-Standard

Ask the Doctors | Early RSV season primarily impacts infants – Times-Standard

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Dear Doctor: What can I do to protect my baby from RSV? What are the symptoms? My husband and I are worried because people are talking about “triple blood”. We are vaccinated for the flu and her COVID-19 and are very careful when we go out. what else can i do?

Dear readers: RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial virus. This is a common winter virus that can affect people of all ages. In most cases, RSV infection causes mild, cold-like symptoms. However, infants and children under the age of two, whose immune systems are still developing, are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill.

RSV is the most common cause of infant pneumonia in the United States. It is also the leading cause of bronchiolitis in that age group. This is a lung infection in which the smallest airways become inflamed and swollen, and increased mucus production impedes the flow of air into and out of the lungs.

Like the flu, the respiratory syncytial virus season has arrived early this year. Hospitals across the United States are reporting a surge in serious infections among infants and young children.

The virus enters the body through the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. It can survive for hours on hard surfaces such as doorknobs, nightstands and tableware. It can also remain on soft surfaces such as tissue and skin. Someone can become infected by breathing in airborne virus particles after coughing or sneezing, or by coming into direct contact with contaminated droplets and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

A person infected with RSV usually remains contagious for 4 to 8 days. However, because infants have not yet developed immune systems, it is possible that infants can continue to spread the virus for several weeks even after symptoms of the disease have subsided. Prevention relies on the same precautions we use to avoid respiratory illness. That means keeping your baby away from sick people, avoiding close contact with people outside your home, and paying attention to hand hygiene.

RSV symptoms develop between 3 and 6 days after infection. These include a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, fever, loss of appetite, and lung congestion that causes wheezing. These symptoms tend to be progressive, appearing in stages as the body mounts an attack against the virus. Increases, decreased activity, and difficulty breathing may occur.

Treatment of RSV consists of symptom management. Specific measures of care will depend on the child’s age, general health, and symptoms. In infants, treatment of RSV includes adequate hydration and attention to signs of respiratory problems. Most RSV infections pass in a week to 10 days. Parents of young infants should check with their pediatrician for guidance on treatment, especially medication. Call your healthcare provider right away if your child has trouble breathing, is not drinking enough fluids, or if symptoms worsen.

Eve Glazier, MD, MBA, is an internist and Associate Professor of Medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Send your questions to [email protected] or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1955, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Personal replies not allowed.

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