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RSV in Children: Symptoms, Treatment and What Parents Should Know

 




CNN

september, 8 month old baby In Dr. Juanita Mora’s office in Chicago, an infection that doctors didn’t expect to see for another two months broke out. RSV.

An allergist and immunologist, like her colleagues across the country, she has been treating children with this cold-like virus long before the normal season begins.

“We are seeing RSV infections rampant across the country,” Mora said.

Nearly all children will be infected with RSV at some point before the age of 2, US says the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMost adults who catch it have mild illness. Elderly people, those with chronic heart disease, lung disease, and weakened immune systems dangerousHowever, RSV is especially tricky in infants and children.

Mora, a volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association, says it’s important for parents, caregivers, and daycares. Let workers know what to look out for in RSV, which stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Then you will know if a sick child can be treated at home or if he needs to go to the hospital.

“Emergency departments are overrun with sick children, so we want parents to know they can go to the pediatrician and get tested for RSV, flu, and even Covid-19,” Mora said. said.

Here’s what else parents need to know as respiratory illnesses skyrocket.

RSV often causes a mild illness that can be managed at home.

On average, infection lasts from 5 days to 2 weeks. off by itself, CDC saysIn some cases, the cough can last up to four weeks, pediatricians say.

Cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing may occur. Young infants may appear irritable or lethargic and have difficulty breathing.

Not all children show all potential RSV symptoms.

“Especially in young infants, RSV infections can come and go with a fever.

Parents should be aware of changes in behavior, such as eating longer or showing no interest in food at all, she said. there is.

It’s also important to watch for signs that your child is having trouble breathing or is breathing through his ribs or belly. “These symptoms may overlap with many other viruses we’re resurging,” Soni added.

It’s not easy for parents to tell the difference between RSV and respiratory illnesses like influenza, so it’s good to take sick children to the pediatrician.

“Sooner or later, we may need to bring the baby in for an evaluation,” Soni said.

Parents should take extra precautions if their child is premature, newborn, immune-compromised, neuromuscular, or under 2 with chronic lung or heart conditions, according to the CDC. need to do it.

“Parents are very sensitive to changes in activity, appetite, etc., and should pay particular attention to signs of respiratory distress,” Soni said.

Testing is important because treatments for things like the flu and Covid-19 can vary.

There are no antiviral drugs or specific treatments like influenza, and there is no vaccine. But if your child is sick, there are things you can do.

Fever and pain can be managed with non-aspirin pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Also, make sure your child is getting enough fluids.

“RS virus can be very dehydrating when a child isn’t eating or drinking, especially when we’re talking about infants,” Mora said. If you’re urinating less, or needing less diapers, that’s a sign that you should go to the pediatrician or emergency department.”

Consult your pediatrician before giving your child over-the-counter cold medicines.

A pediatrician checks a child’s breathing rate – breathing rate – and their oxygen levels. If your child is very sick or is at high risk of serious illness, your doctor may recommend that your child go to the hospital.

“RSV can be very dangerous for some young infants and young children, especially those under the age of two,” says Soni.

Mora said difficulty breathing is a sign the child is having trouble with the virus. RSV can develop into more serious illnesses such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia, which can lead to respiratory failure.

If your child’s chest moves up and down when breathing, is unable to sleep with a cough, or is getting worse, “may be an indication that you need to seek help from your pediatrician or take him to the hospital.” If you go to the emergency department, you may need supplemental oxygen or nebulization.”

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen says difficulty breathing, such as head shaking, nose swelling and moaning, is one of the two main trouble signs of a respiratory infection. . Another is dehydration. “This is especially true for babies with stuffy noses. They may not be feeding.”

Much of the care provided by hospital staff is to aid breathing.

“We are providing respiratory therapy for RSV and these children, including oxygen, intravenous fluids and suction,” said Soni.

A thin tube may need to be inserted into the lungs to remove mucus. Children can get additional oxygen through a mask or tube attached to their nose. Some children may need to use an oxygen tent. People who suffer a lot may need a ventilator.

Some babies need tube feeding.

Doctors say the best way to prevent RSV infection is to teach children to cough and sneeze into a tissue or elbow instead of their hands. .

If a caregiver or older sibling is sick, they should wear a mask around others and wash their hands frequently.

And above all, if someone gets sick, whether they are children or adults, they should stay home to avoid spreading the disease.

there is monoclonal antibody therapy For children at highest risk of severe illness. It may not be available to everyone, but it can protect the most vulnerable. It comes in the form of shots that children can receive each month during a typical RSV season.

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