Protect You And Your Family From RSV And The Flu

Children’s Hospitals, Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Emergency Rooms, Urgent Cares and Pediatrician Offices across the nation are experiencing a surge of babies and young children with a common respiratory illness that can cause severe breathing problems.
RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a virus that causes lung infections in babies and small children. It can cause infections of the upper airway, like a cold, and infections in the lower airway, like pneumonia. It is a common cause of breathing problems in children two years of age and younger. RSV usually occurs in yearly winter breakouts, with most cases seen between October through April 1. However, this year cases of RSV have been surging locally and nationally since September.
​The signs and symptoms of RSV are similar to those of cold and flu. They include fever, runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. Frequently, a child is infectious before symptoms begin and a young child with RSV can be infectious for one to three weeks after symptoms disappear. An RSV infection can range from very mild to life-threatening or even fatal.
The spread of RSV occurs through direct contact with infectious secretions, for example by touching a surface an infected person has contaminated by touching it or coughing on it. A surface can include toys, clothes, doorknobs, etc. People who touch these items after they have been contaminated can likely become infected with RSV.
The most effective thing to help stop the spread of RSV is good and constant handwashing. Alcohol-based hand cleansers will also work if a sink is not available.
Essentially, all children will have had RSV by three years of age. Children at risk for the most severe problems from RSV are those who are born premature, those with heart or lung problems, or those with decreased ability to fight infections.
Adults can also become sick with RSV. However, RSV infections in adults may seem like nothing more than a cold and tend to occur in those adults who have frequent contact with children.
Once one child in a group is infected with RSV, the spread to other children is rapid. Because children are usually infectious before they show signs of illness, an infected child does not need to be excluded from childcare unless he or she is not well enough to participate in usual activities.
If your child develops an illness caused by RSV infection, make sure that proper procedures regarding handwashing, hygiene, disposal of tissues, and cleaning of toys are followed.
Influenza, the flu, is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus which infect the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs). Some people, such as young children, elderly adults and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Flu viruses are spread mainly through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Signs and symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur and are more common in children than adults.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. Children less than six months of age should not get the flu vaccine as it is not approved for use in this age group.
Protect yourself and your family from the flu by:
• Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Avoid close contact with sick people. When sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

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