Test Your Knowledge: RSV, Whooping Cough + the Flu

Test Your Knowledge: RSV, Whooping Cough + the Flu

While vaccinations have certainly made many infectious diseases rare or a thing of the past, several others continue to be a part of our every day lives. We touch on a few of the most common and hope that these facts and tips help you avoid them at all costs.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV
RSV is highly contagious and is the #1 cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in U.S. infants. Because many twins and higher order multiples are born prematurely and their lungs sometimes underdeveloped, they are even more susceptible to contracting RSV, and especially so during the late fall, winter and even early spring. Symptoms are flu-like, including a fever, runny nose and/or nasal congestion, and cough. Most babies end up with a wheezing cough and some even require hospitalization.

Avoid It: Frequent hand washing and not sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with people who have RSV illness should decrease the spread of virus to others.

Excluding children with colds or other respiratory illnesses (without fever) who are well enough to attend child care or school settings will probably not decrease the transmission of RSV, since it is often spread in the early stages of illness prior to the development of more severe symptoms.

Whooping Cough
Sadly, reported cases of whooping cough have risen sharply since 2004, as parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. The medical term for the disease is pertussis — the “P” in the DTaP vaccine. Antibiotics are not especially helpful in treatment, so vaccination is essential for prevention. Children who develop whooping cough literally run out of breath when coughing, causing them to inhale and create a “whooping” sound.

To learn more about these illnesses and how to avoid them, click here

Talitha McGuinness
Authored by: Talitha McGuinness

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