Health Reminder: How to prevent respiratory syncytial virus in children at home?

The disease can lead to viral pneumonia in infants and children, followed by COVID-19, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued a regional alert for an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, stating that “cases will reach pre-pandemic levels, with associated hospitalizations mainly in children under the age of two.”

It should be noted that each year The disease is estimated to kill more than 100,000 young children worldwide unicef. Nationally, on the other hand, more than 5,000 premature babies may be born with the condition each year. National Institute of Statistics and Information (Ney).

What is respiratory syncytial virus?

RSV is a viral infection that is very dangerous for pediatrics, especially premature infants born before 32 weeks of gestation, and can leave sequelae such as asthma and other lifelong cognitive problems. Therefore, prevention is absolutely necessary. Immature lungs and a weakened immune system pose a greater risk to this high-risk group. In addition, premature babies often require intensive care in neonatal units, which puts them at greater risk of infection.

“The National Institutes of Health informed us that there has been an increase in acute syncytial virus infections in the country. Unfortunately, the treatment of this disease can only be done in the private sector, not in the public sector, which shows an inadequacy in the right to health This even means a delay of the equivalent of 4 and 13 years in the adoption of preventive measures compared to Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Chile, which have programs in place to prevent RSV, among the smallest one of the countries.” stand out Edson Aguilar, Vice-President of Voces Ciudadanas, a Peruvian civil society organization promoting the right to health.

In Chile, the disease has spread, triggering a new state of emergency. In Peru, thousands of symptomatic children are under-evaluated due to a lack of diagnostic tests and national surveillance. Therefore, the exact prevalence of the virus in the country, as well as the true incidence and causative agents of acquired infections (such as bronchiolitis, viral pneumonia, or RSV) are unknown.


In that line, Carmen DavilaPediatric neonatologists offer three preventive measures parents can consider to help prevent the spread of RSV, which are similar to the common cold:

family Education: As a highly contagious disease, it is important for parents to talk about preventive measures that minors should take, such as washing hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds. In a dynamic way, children are taught about risk factors and basic precautions. In addition, it is important to avoid close contact with people with respiratory symptoms, and if such close contact cannot be avoided, use a mask properly. If you have a respiratory illness, please do not go to public places, and if unavoidable, please wear a mask.

Reduce staying in places where contagion may occur: During times of high infectivity, such as now, it is recommended to reduce the amount of time children spend in day care centers or other potentially infectious settings. Even if siblings in the family share a room, they are advised to keep them separated until further notice.

Watch out for symptoms: Symptoms are usually runny nose, decreased appetite (in children and infants), coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. In very young babies, symptoms may be restlessness, decreased activity, and shortness of breath. It is important to go to a medical center right away if you notice any signs that your child is having trouble breathing.

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