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A pediatrician suggests protections to keep kids healthy as RSV cases increase

man holding baby
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Families should seek immediate medical attention if a baby shows flu-like symptoms along with trouble breathing, loss of appetite, loss of activity level or increased irritability.

The common respiratory virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in most people but can lead to more severe illness and even hospitalization in children under 1 year old.

Respiratory syncytialvirus, commonly known as RSV, is on the rise in Central Florida, worrying some doctors as the surge is starting well ahead of the typical winter month increase.

The common respiratory virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in most people but can lead to more severe illness and even hospitalization in children under 1 year old.

Dr. Sally Elias, a pediatrician at Nemours Children’s Hospital, says she’s urging families with infants to put protections in place during the holiday season that begins in a few weeks.

“Maybe during the holidays, trying to keep your new babies away from larger gatherings. So we always try to recommend, if your child is under 2 months old, maybe keeping them protected and away from the larger gatherings during the holidays,” Elias says.

Elias recommends families of infants also practice good handwashing and to deep-clean surfaces.

Also, she says, when it comes to older siblings: “Encouraging your younger children who are in school to wash their hands and, if applicable , to wear masks if they’re 3 or 4 years old in school, maybe to decrease the chances of them bringing stuff home to their younger siblings, to their newborn siblings.”

Families should seek immediate medical attention if a baby shows flu-like symptoms along with trouble breathing, loss of appetite, loss of activity level or increased irritability.

Danielle Prieur