The number one cause for hospitalization for babies

- It's the number one cause for hospitalization for babies. RSV a common respiratory virus is going around, just like the flu. Dr. Pedro Piedra, Professor of Molecular Virology and Microbiology and of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. joins Jose Grinan and Tom Zizka for a discussion about RSV , the symptoms and treatments available.

According to the CDC, respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults.

Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, with a healthcare provider’s approval. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).

Healthy infants and adults infected with RSV do not usually need to be hospitalized. But some people with RSV infection, especially infants younger than 6 months of age and older adults, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated. In most of these cases, hospitalization only lasts a few days.

Visits to a healthcare provider for an RSV infection are very common. During such visits, the healthcare provider will evaluate how severe the person’s RSV infection is to determine if the patient should be hospitalized. In the most severe cases, a person may require supplemental oxygen or intubation (have a breathing tube inserted through the mouth and down to the lungs) with mechanical ventilation (a machine to help a person breathe).

There is no specific treatment for RSV infection, though researchers are working to develop antivirals.

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