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RSV, is it more than the common cold?

Short answer, yes. As explained in an article published by California Childcare Health Program, RSV stands for “Respiratory Syncytial Virus” and is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is the most frequent cause of respiratory infections in infants and children under 2 years of age. RSV disease can be very serious and may even cause death.

Almost 100 percent of children in the child care setting get infected in the first year of their life. Nearly every child in the United States gets RSV before the age of three. Children or adults with heart or lung disease and weak immune systems are at increased risk of developing severe infection and complications.

RSV is spread by direct contact with infectious discharges or toys, surfaces, and other objects smeared or contaminated by such discharges, and it typically most active during winter months.

In most children, symptoms appear similar to a cold or mild respiratory infection with nasal stuffiness and discharge, cough, and difficulty breathing. About half of the infections result in pneumonia and ear infection. In older children and adults, RSV causes upper respiratory infection involving the nose, throat or sinuses. Frequently, a child is infectious before symptoms appear but remains contagious for up to 7 days after symptoms have began.

Help Prevent the Spread of RSV

Wash your hands often.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,

Teach and help young children do the same,

Keep your hands off your face,

Avoid close contact with sick people,

Cover your coughs and sneezes,

Clean and disinfect surfaces,

Stay home when you are sick!

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