Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases are on the rise, prompting Orange County to declare a Health Emergency.
This is not a new virus. In fact, almost all individuals will have been exposed by the age of two.
However it has always caused more severe symptoms in young infants, particularly preemies, newborns, infants under 6 months, and the immunologically compromised. My youngest, Kyle, contracted a severe case when he was 4 months old (presumably infected by his older toddler siblings). He was breathing rapidly, flaring his nostrils, wheezing, and eating poorly. It was hard to watch. I was fortunate that he did not require hospitalization, but I did stay home from work and provide round the clock nebulizer treatments. Poor thing was miserable.
Like other viruses (including covid and influenza-aka “flu”), it is transmitted by respiratory droplets. It is therefore important to continue to avoid crowded indoor venues, contact with symptomatic individuals, and maintain hygiene by cleaning surfaces and hand-washing. At this time there is no routine vaccine available.
I sit on the Foundation Board at CHOC Hospital and received a text notice Monday night. By declaring a health emergency, systems will be set in place to expand the number of pediatric beds available at other hospitals if the children’s hospitals reach capacity.
I encourage you to learn more by visiting choc.org/rsv or cdc.gov/rsv. Pediatricians are also encouraging “all eligible patients to get covid and flu vaccines as soon as possible.”