PreemieCare: Flu Season Subsides While Incidence of the Most Common and Lethal Children's Respiratory Virus Continues to Rise
Wednesday January 28, 11:23 am ET

~ Outbreaks of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Are Being Reported Across The Country ~

NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though the flu season is finally winding down, there is a significant segment of the population that continues to be at risk for severe respiratory illness. Children under the age of 5 may develop pneumonia and wheezing due to a virus called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). For many premature babies (< 2 years old ), the consequences are often very serious but easily preventable.

RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory infection and viral death in children under 5 years of age and it is the leading reason for hospitalization of children under the age of one.

Unlike influenza, RSV season typically spans from fall to spring and virtually all children are exposed to the virus during the first two years of life. Premature babies (36 weeks gestation or less) and children with chronic lung conditions or congenital heart disease are at increased risk for severe RSV disease because early birth interrupts the final stages of normal lung development. Premature infants also do not have the normal immune response or lung capacity of full term babies, and cannot defend themselves against the virus as well as full term children. RSV spreads easily and can become very serious very quickly.

Therefore, while parents may feel relieved that the flu season has subsided, they cannot let their guard down against RSV. Parents of at-risk babies should talk with their pediatrician about ways to help protect their child against RSV.

The good news is that RSV can be prevented. Dr. William Sears, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine and a leading expert on RSV, says that prevention is quite simple: always wash your hands before touching the baby, keep the baby away from crowds, limit exposure to people with cold or flu symptoms, keep the baby away from second hand smoke, and talk to your pediatrician about RSV risks and prevention.

If you would like to speak with an expert, or receive prevention tips and additional materials on RSV, please contact the MOST office, or call 1-877-434-MOST.

PreemieCare is part of the larger organization of MOST, Inc.

P.O. Box 306
(631) 859-1110
East Islip, NY 11730