Giving Compass' Take:
- University of Chicago Medicine doctors answer questions about the surging RSV infections and the most at-risk patients.
- How can donors help spread awareness about surging RSV infections?
- Learn more about RSV.
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Here, University of Chicago Medicine doctors explain how to protect children and high-risk patients:
WHAT IS RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus, often called RSV, is a common virus that can cause infections in the nose, throat, lungs, and respiratory tract. Historically, almost all children are infected with RSV by age 2, and re-infections are common at all ages.
RSV is a leading cause of hospitalization in infants. As of November 2022, cases of RSV and other respiratory illnesses—such as enterovirus, rhinovirus, and parainfluenza—are surging throughout the United States, placing many pediatric hospitals at full capacity. If your child needs emergency care, it may be helpful to check your local hospital wait times as you consider your options for care.
WHY IS RSV SO BAD THIS YEAR?
RSV infections declined significantly during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to masking and social distancing measures, young children were not exposed to common germs during this time.
As many return to schools and other public places without masks, germs and viruses are spreading as normal. However, with less built-up immunity, children are more vulnerable than usual.
People can catch RSV more than once, but the first time a child has an RSV infection, they are generally sicker than they are the next time. Because of COVID-19 prevention measures, we have one and two year olds who are just now having their first RSV infection.
This makes it even more important to pay attention to your child’s health, as well as those around them.
ARE THERE OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN AT HIGH RISK? WHAT IS SYNAGIS?
SYNAGIS is a humanized monoclonal antibody that can help prevent hospitalization for children who are at high risk for severe RSV symptoms.
These monthly injections provide key antibodies that fight infection for at-risk groups, such as former premature infants and babies with certain lung and heart conditions.
Contact your child’s physician if you would like to learn more about SYNAGIS as a possible prevention method.
Read the full article about RSV infections at Futurity.