WakeMed Blogs

RSV Who?

December 04, 2015

Every year during the fall, winter and early spring, we restrict visitation to our Children’s Hospital and our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The reason: to protect our patients from viruses like RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).  You may have never heard of RSV, but there is a very good chance that you HAVE had it.  For most people, RSV acts just like a common cold, but for the very young or immunocompromised, RSV can cause serious problems and may even require mechanical ventilation.

Hospitals are places to get well, and it is our job to try to prevent additional illness while patients are in our care.  Just a little cold or sniffle for you or an otherwise healthy sibling, can turn into a very bad illness for a young, hospitalized child.

This is why during the respiratory viral season we ask that:

  • Visitors be 12 years of age or older to enter our Children’s Hospital and NICU
  • You always wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel upon entering and leaving a child’s room
  • You refrain from visiting a child or infant in the hospital if you have fever, a cough or a runny nose

Things you may not know about RSV:

  • It often presents like the common cold in otherwise healthy (older) children and adults
  • Premature infants and very young children are at greater risk of getting a serious cases of RSV
  • People infected with RSV are contagious for 3 to 8 days
  • There are shots high-risk babies can get to help prevent RSV, but is not a vaccine
  • Once you have RSV, doctors cannot cure the disease they can only treat the symptoms
  • RSV spreads rapidly among young children
  • If a case of RSV is serious enough in a young child, it can even continue to cause respiratory issues as the child ages.

Now that you know RSV, help us protect young patients from getting the virus and the potentially serious complications.

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