Respiratory syncytial virus
Cold, flu, and RSV season is here!
And from what we're observing, the 2022-2023 cold and flu season is going to be especially dangerous for vulnerable babies and families.
Respiratory infections are spreading in our schools and communities. COVID-19 is still with us. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections are on the rise. And we're just now entering flu season.
As these viruses spread, providers are telling us to prepare for this unprecedented "tri-demic."
What's different this season?
During the COVID-19 pandemic - when we were all taking precautions to stop the spread of respiratory viruses - we saw the number of cases of RSV and flu go down. But as we return to a "new normal" and restrictions are relaxed, we're seeing a surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections.
If we're going to adapt to these changing conditions, we need to educate ourselves and each other.
RSV is a Troublemaker!
WATCH: General pediatrician Lynn Smitherman, MD, explains how the burden of RSV weighs heavily on babies, children and their families.
U.S. doctors are warning that a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is coinciding with an increase in COVID transmission and an earlier-than-normal flu season, raising the specter of a "tripledemic" of respiratory illness this winter. READ
What is RSV?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is one version of the common cold.
For most healthy children and adults it will cause a slight cough, watery nasal congestion, and mild fever. But for many infants - including babies who were born prematurely or have certain health conditions - RSV can be much more serious and have devastating health consequences.
Some babies who get infected with RSV are sick for weeks - and quickly develop bronchiolitis or pneumonia
They may wheeze for months - or even years - and can go on to develop chronic lung disease.
Because it clogs their airways, many babies cannot get enough oxygen and must be admitted to the hospital for respiratory support.
Hospital admissions can last a week or longer.
The sickest babies may even need to be placed on a breathing machine or heart lung bypass.
Tragically, some babies infected with RSV die from its effects.
WATCH: How To Recognize RSV Symptoms: Scarlett's Story
WATCH: Example of Wheezing, Grunting, and Squeaking in Infant in Respiratory Distress
WATCH: Nasal Flaring and Substernal/Subcostal Retractions in Infant
It may be the common cold for you...
but it can be life-threatening for some babies.
We love these resources from Sobi.
The Dangers of RSV
Neonatologist Vincent Smith, MD, explains why RSV can be dangerous for infants and young children.
What we can do.
We know that taking these steps will help us reduce the risks of respiratory infections:
Get your flu shot. Stay up-to-date with your family's immunizations.
Stay home when you can.
When you have to go out, wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart from people who are not a part of your household.
Change your clothes when you get home.
Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can't.
We love these resources from Sesame Street in Communities
RSV is a really serious virus.
Spread the word - not the infection.
Share this video from the American Lung Association with people you care about.
How providers can help.
Providers can help reduce the burden of RSV infections in our communities by:
Knowing the signs and symptoms of severe respiratory infection
CDC: Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) for Healthcare Providers.
Infant distress warning signs Watch this video
Tracking national data and trends at the CDC's website
Providing families and insurers with the information they need to access protective therapies
Advocating for evidence-based care for vulnerable infants.
The good news is that we have a proven, effective therapy and there are FDA-approved, evidence-based guidelines that describe which babies should have access to this medication.
Babies who were born prematurely or who have compromised respiratory or immune systems can receive monthly antibody injections. When given as prophylaxis monthly during the RSV season these injections of monoclonal antibodies are an effective way to significantly decrease the risks of RSV infection for this vulnerable population. There is solid evidence that babies who were born prematurely or have compromised respiratory or immune systems benefit from these antibody injections.
The National Perinatal Association
supports access to this much-needed therapy.
See our Evidence-Based Interdisciplinary Collaboration:
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Prevention Clinical Practice Guideline
Read our 2022 UPDATE and Call to Action
Currently the NPA supports several initiatives to address this issue, including the following:
The revision of NPA's RSV Guidelines to reflect new data and information about RSV.
The creation of resources for parents and professionals that highlight current information about RSV and how to appeal insurer's decisions to deny access to RSV prophylaxis for a child who is at high risk.
Partnering with organizations to collaborate on effective ways to educate and inform the public, healthcare providers, payers and policy makers about this issue.
READ: WHO preferred product characteristics of monoclonal antibodies for passive immunization against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease June 2021 l Meeting Report
READ: Updated Guidance: Use of Palivizumab Prophylaxis to Prevent Hospitalization From Severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection During the 2022-2023 RSV Season from American Academy of Pediatrics
READ: Monoclonal Antibodies Inclusion in the Vaccines for Children Program - National Coalition for Infant Health, March 2022
The Gap Baby: An RSV Story
Most young children encounter what’s known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, before age two. It’s a common seasonal virus with flu-like symptoms. But as this video from the National Coalition for Infant Health explains, premature infants whose health plans don’t cover preventive RSV treatment may suffer – and unnecessarily so.
Up to Date: Patient Education: Bronchiolitis (and RSV) in infants and children (Beyond the Basics)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) RSV: When It's More Than Just a Cold español
Signs and Symptoms of RSV and Bronchiolitis: What parents should know about this common childhood infection from VeryWellHealth
Protect your most vulnerable patients when it matters most from Sobi, the makers of SYNAGIS® (Palivizumab) Consumer information for families