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RSV Season: It's Here

Tens of Thousands of U.S. Kids Hospitalized Each Year With RSV Infection

RSV Treatment and Prevention continued...

Kids with severe RSV disease may need oxygen therapy and treatment with an antiviral drug called ribavirin. Sometimes mechanical ventilation is needed. Kids with immune deficiencies and severe RSV disease may be treated with intravenous anti-RSV immune globulin and ribavirin.

And it's not only kids who are at risk. Elderly people, and people with compromised immune systems also risk serious RSV disease.

For a disease this common and this serious, you'd think there would be a vaccine. But making an RSV vaccine has turned out to be a major problem. One reason is that the normal immune system may overreact to RSV. That's why a simple RSV vaccine tested in the 1960s was a disaster. It made this immune storm worse, so kids with RSV exposure actually got sicker.

The quest for a safe RSV vaccine continues. Meanwhile, there's one good way to avoid RSV infection: Wash your hands. Yes, this means frequent hand washing, with soap and warm water, gently scrubbing the hands for the time it takes to sing the alphabet song.

Unfortunately, it doesn't do any good to keep kids with colds out of school or day care if they're feeling well enough to go back. RSV spreads typically during the early stages of infection.

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