Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season starts in October and runs until May. A new study says that in many ways, it’s a heavier burden on the health of young children than seasonal flu. “There’s been disproportionate attention given to influenza even though our data show (illness) to be high from RSV,” study author Dr. Florence T. Bourgeois told Reuters.
In many kids and adults, RSV looks just like a mild, common cold — sniffles, sore throat, cough. But in young children, RSV can sometimes turn serious, leading to bronchiolitis or pneumonia. The study found that when compared to seasonal flu, RSV caused a significantly higher rate of trips to the ER, hospitalizations, and missed work/school days in kids under age seven.
Prevention of RSV is the same as the swine flu: Wash your hands, stay away from people who are visibly ill, cover your cough, and stay home when you’re sick. Though this study didn’t compare swine flu to RSV, the point researchers are trying to get across is that cold and flu prevention shouldn’t stop just because the current wave of H1N1 seems to have peaked.
Photo: Erin Nealy, Flickr