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Common Respiratory Syncytial Virus Serious Issue Among Children
DAYTON -- It's an illness that almost every child will get at some point, and even though the symptoms are similar to the common cold, doctors are telling us it's a lot more serious.
The peak season for respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, is just around the corner.
"That usually hits our kids 2 1/2 years and younger just a lot of wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing. They need to stay home and rest so we don't get everyone inside here sick," said Nicole Warner, owner of My Father's House Childcare.
She says they've had several cases.
"We've had illnesses to the point where we had to close before because there's been too many people in the room sick," she said. "So it's best to look for the signs, follow doctors' orders and stay at home until everything is clear."
RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization and is responsible for approximately 10 times more infant deaths each year than the flu.
The symptoms are like a cold but it could be deadly, so how can you tell it apart?
A cold is relatively harmless and usually clears up by itself after a period of time, whereas RSV can be severe and can cause other respiratory infections.
And RSV is more prevalent with babies born prematurely because their lungs are not fully developed.
"For preterm babies, maybe infants less than 1 year, it would then progress to a deep cough maybe difficulty breathing, noisy breathing, symptoms like that," said Dr. Jerod Rone, Medical Director of NICU at Kettering Medical Center.
The illness affects nearly 100 percent of children by age 2.
"It's a commonly spread virus and it's easily found, which is part of why almost all children will get it at some point in their lives," said Rone.
Once contracted, there is no cure for RSV, so protecting against this highly contagious virus is critical. One of the best ways you can prevent RSV is by simply taking the time to wash your hands and doing it often.
"Any time you go to take care of your infant or touch your infant make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching them," said Rone.
"Little people under 2 get it more because they are constantly putting things in their mouth," said Warner. "So proper hand-washing at home, making sure you are keeping things clean with your child, making sure you are sanitizing your bottles and pacifiers and things that are constantly going in their mouth."
The disease is year-round but is most common in the winter months and peaks in January and February.
Visit the http://www.healthychildren.org website for more info on RSV.
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