For those with a premature infant or who have had a premature infant you will know what RSV is but here is for those who don't and to give knowlege to those who might need for the future. RSV FAQ's 1. What is RSV? RSV is MORE THAN A COLD! RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. This is a very common virus, one that virtually all children contract by the time they are two years old. The virus causes a lung infection that can make some babies and young children very sick. RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in babies and is the most frequent cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children. According to a study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in July 2002, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization of infants under the age of one. In addition, RSV is thought to play a major role in the development of childhood asthma. 2. Who is at risk for RSV? Virtually everyone will contract RSV at some time. But for young children, in particular those who were born premature (before 36 weeks) or those with chronic long disease, RSV infection can place them at risk for severe complications. Multiple birth children are at particular risk since they are more likely than singletons to have been born prematurely and RSV is extremely contagious. In high-risk pediatric patients, RSV lower respiratory tract infections can lead to hospitalization, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and possibly death.* Premature babies and infants with chronic lung conditions are at increased risk for complications from serious RSV disease. (*Shay et al. Bronchiolitis-associated hospitalizations among US children, 1980-1996. JAMA. 1999;282:1440-1446) Among those at risk for developing life-threatening RSV infections are: a. Premature babies (35 weeks gestation or less) b. Infants under 6-8 weeks of age c. Infants or toddlers with congenital heart disease d. Infants or toddlers with chronic lung complications (including asthma and bronchopulmonary dysplasia) e. Two or children who share a bedroom f. Multiples g. Infants with school age siblings h. Infants exposed to passive smoke exposure i. Infants who attend daycare j. Infants with a body mass less than 5 kilograms k. Infant boys l. Infants who are not breastfed 3. Is RSV serious? In most adults and children RSV results in a simple cold. However, premature babies and toddlers or those with lung problems can become gravely ill. During RSV season up to 125,000 infants and young children will be admitted to the hospital as a result of RSV infection. Sadly, about 2% of these children may die from complications associated with it. 4. What are the signs and symptoms? Symptoms of RSV often resemble a cold at the beginning: fever runny nose sniffles Signs to watch for as RSV progresses are: coughing difficulty breathing wheezing very rapidly breathing The child's condition can worsen VERY quickly. If there is more than one child in the home, RSV can spread rapidly throughout the home. This is one of the major reasons why RSV is such a great concern to multiple birth families. In all likelihood if you have one baby with RSV that means that each of your other babies have most likely been exposed to it as well and could quite possibly have it also. RSV season lasts from fall to late spring (October through April in most areas of the country). Find up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about RSV outbreaks by state, region, or the entire US on the RSV Tracking System. 5. How is RSV contracted? It is very, very easy to contract RSV. It is spread by physical contact (such as shaking hands with an infected person) or by air droplets (caused by an infected person sneezing or coughing). RSV can also live for several hours on surfaces, such as doorknobs, telephones, faucet handles, counters or used tissues, burp cloths. RSV infections are very common in areas where people are crowded together (either in living together or even taking mass transportation) and in day-care centers. In homes where there are multiple children, RSV can spread very rapidly from child to child. Older brothers and sisters may bring the virus home from school or friends' homes. 6. Can RSV infection be prevented? To help protect your baby, there are simple steps that parents and caregivers can take: Have family members and caregivers wash their hands with warm water and soap, especially before touching your children. If you have other children, have them wash their hands frequently, especially after returning from school or daycare. (See more about proper hand washing.) Avoid being around the baby if you have a cold or fever Avoid exposing the baby to other children with cold symptoms. Anyone with a cold or fever should avoid being around your children. Keep the baby away from crowds and avoid close contact with others It is critical that you never allow smoke around your children Talk to your babys pediatrician about RSV risks and prevention 7. Is there a medication available to prevent RSV disease? Synagis was approved by the FDA in 1998 to help prevent serious complications from RSV infection in high-risk babies. Synagis is given once a month during the RSV season (usually about 5 visits). This involves a brief visit to the doctor to receive an injection (shot) in the baby's thigh. 8. Where can I learn more about RSV? RSV Protection.com or call the PreemieCare office (631-859-1110) 9. My child has some risk factors that place her at greater risk for complications from RSV infection. Will my insurance company pay for Synagis? Synagis therapy is often covered by medical insurance, particularly for a child at high-risk for RSV, such as a premature infant. The toll-free Synagis number (1-877-633-4411) may help you with assistance in obtaining insurance coverage. Alot of this is for american babies but here in the uk synagis is given via NHS but only the very sickest babies in a rsv year are given it; in my area it is only the top 10 sickest in a year as the jabs are £1,000 each In an ideal world though all babies at risk should be immunised. My son received them in his first year only and lucky for us he did as he still contracted RSV but it was milder as he was immunised but he still required hospitilisation.