From an interview with
Dr. Meghan Jordan
McLeod Pediatric Associates of Florence – West
Flu season also brings the presence of another respiratory illness – RSV. McLeod Pediatrician Dr. Meghan Jordan explains the symptoms and differences of each.
Here is a summary of Dr. Jordan’s remarks:
Both the flu and the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are viruses that often come up together in conversation, because they spike during similar time periods of the year — the fall, winter and early spring.
For both viruses, fever is one of the best early warning signs. Other symptoms for both would be runny nose, cough, congestion. For flu, people complain about body aches, muscle aches, chills and fatigue. If your child has these signs, you may want to take them to the doctor. Although, early treatment options are somewhat limited, there is flu antiviral called Tamiflu. It is best if given within the first 48 hours of symptoms, and it is usually reserved for younger children or those with chronic medical conditions.
For the flu, there also is a vaccine to prevent the flu. It’s formulated based on the virus from the previous year, because each year’s virus can be different. It’s recommended that children six months and above get their flu shot each year to help decrease their risk of the flu. It’s not a perfect vaccine. You still may get the flu even if you get the flu vaccine. However, people, who get the flu vaccine, are much less likely to get the flu. If they do get the flu, it will often be a milder illness than if they hadn’t been vaccinated.
RSV typically has mild symptoms. It runs its course and the body takes care of the infection. There’s currently no RSV antiviral medicine approved by the FDA. However, with RSV there is an antibody shot called Synagis that can be given to some children throughout the RSV season as a preventive measure. Children, who qualify for Synagis, are usually infants born extremely prematurely or with some heart or chronic lung disease. Your doctor can determine if your child is a candidate for Synagis.
Finally, one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of both flu and RSV is by washing our hands frequently.
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