Florida Children at Risk for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

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Florida children are at risk for contracting respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, for eight months out of every year. While the symptoms of RSV are usually quite mild, the disease claims the life of 4,500 children every year, and hospitalizes 125,000 more. Newborns are especially susceptible to the virus, especially premature babies and those with other health conditions that may weaken their overall immune system.

Nearly every child under the age of two will contract the virus; the symptoms of RSV resemble those of the common cold, and usually last for a week or two. This year, Florida health officials are worried that parents may overlook the signs of RSV, because they are more worried about H1N1 (Swine Flu), or the seasonal flu. Unfortunately, Florida has one of the longest RSV seasons in the nation – eight months or more – due to our warm climate. November and February are the peak months for the illness.

Children’s Hospital in Boston ran a study that showed children with respiratory distress are twice as likely to be diagnosed with RSV as with H1N1. Parents who suspect that their child might be infected with RSV should call their pediatrician for advice. Find more tips and advice on SRV at Toddlers are at risk for respiratory virus.

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