It is very important for pregnant woman to receive the flu vaccine while pregnant and pass the antibodies to the baby, while we continue to wait for an effective RSV vaccine.
Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 30, 2013
While the flu virus has been getting all the attention lately, there is another life-threatening virus putting more babies in the hospital. RSV is a virus that begins with cold-like symptoms, but can inflame a baby’s lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
Dr. Marta Katalenas, a pediatrician for over 25 years, has found that new mothers who bring their newborns to see her, often are unaware of the danger of the RSV virus or it's symptoms.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection and flu season coincide in time as the two most severe viral infections of the winter. Since they both decrease the immune system, the number of secondary infections and their severity increases exponentially when both infections coincide in the same patient.
"It becomes very important for pregnant woman to receive the flu vaccine while pregnant, in order to pass antibodies to the baby, while we continue to wait for an effective RSV vaccine," says Dr. Katalenas
RSV is especially dangerous for babies under 6 months old. According to the National Medical Association, every year, approximately 125,000 children are hospitalized with RSV and 500 die from the deadly virus.
If parents notice their child is having the following symptoms, they should call a pediatrician immediately:
- Labored breathing or fast breathing (faster than 60 breaths per minute when not crying), flaring nostrils, expanding the rib cage more than usual with each breath, wheezing, grunting when breathing
- A cough that's getting worse
- Difficulty feeding
- Bluish lips or fingernails
Some babies are at a greater risk for RSV than others. If your baby falls into the following categories he or she may be more likely to experience more serious symptoms:
- Premature babies
- Babies born with heart or lung problems or immune system deficiencies
- Babies who are not strong enough to fight off an infection
The most important thing is that parents have all the information to be aware of the symptoms. If there are any concerns or questions, they should call a pediatrician right away.
Marta Katalenas, M.D. is a pediatrician and the owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock. She is also a childhood obesity expert, and author of The Step Up Diet. She believes that by making one small change at a time, families can become healthier. Learn more at drkatalenas.com.