Home Health Respiratory syncytial virus, hospitalizations increase. Prophylaxis is available for premature babies

Respiratory syncytial virus, hospitalizations increase. Prophylaxis is available for premature babies

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The hospitalizations of children under two years of age continue to increase due to the respiratory syncytial virus (VRS), and the concomitance with the increase in Covid cases, including infantile cases, makes the situation of pediatric wards throughout Italy even more under pressure. “Both in the structures of the North and in those of the South we are experiencing a particularly complicated moment”, he confirms Luigi Orfeo, president of the Italian Society of Neonatology (Sin) and director of the neonatal intensive care of the Fatebenefratelli Isola Tiberina Hospital in Rome: “And the situation – he underlines – has worsened by the concomitance with Covid which also affects children under 12 years of age who are not they can still be vaccinated “.

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There is no vaccine or specific treatment for respiratory syncytial virus, but for premature babies, especially the most fragile, prophylaxis with a monoclonal antibody (palivizumab), which is given within the first six months of life. “It is recommended for all those born before the 29th, while for those born between the 29th and 35th it is recommended for children with risk factors”, explains Orfeo: “It consists of 5 intramuscular injections to be performed once every 30 days, from November to March, the epidemic season. In some cases a sixth dose in April is also possible ”. For older children, Sin recommends primary hygiene, i.e. the same precautions we learned for Covid: hand washing and disinfection, masks, attention not to frequent closed and crowded places and distance.

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The respiratory syncytial virus, which in recent weeks has also affected the daughter of Chiara Ferragni and Fedez, presents with cough and cold, which can then evolve into bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It is very common, it is easy to contract it if you go to crowded places, and it represents the first cause of hospitalization under one year of age. Compared to expectations, the virus arrived earlier this year due to the containment measures for Covid adopted last year, which had also blocked the spread of this virus, as experts explain.

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What do you need to pay attention to? “For example to the loss of appetite”, Orfeo replies: “When the first symptoms appear, it is important to have a pediatric visit immediately. There is no specific therapy but by catching the signals in time and with a prompt pediatric intervention, hospitalization can be avoided, which instead – he concludes – is necessary in case of worsening of breathing “.

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