In the past few weeks we have been seeing an uptick in cases of RSV throughout the school. Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV is a common virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages and generally starts circulating in the fall season and peaks in the winter months. Those infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3-8 days and may become contagious a day or two before showing signs of illness. While most cases of RSV go away on their own in a week or two, some infants and people with weakened immune systems can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks. To help us combat the continued spread of RSV and keep your children healthy and in school we are providing information on what signs and symptoms to look for while also providing information on how it is spread and can be prevented.
People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4-6 days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include - runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties.
*Manage fever and pain with over the counter fever reducers and pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (never give aspirin to children).
*Drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).
*Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children.
RSV can spread when
*An infected person coughs or sneezes
*You get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose or mouth
*You have direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV
*You touch a surface that has the virus on it, like a doorknob and then touch your face before washing your hands
RSV can survive for many hours on hard surfaces such as tables and crib rails. It typically lives on soft surfaces such as tissues and hands for shorter amounts of time.
People are typically infected with RSV for the first time as an infant or toddler and nearly all children are infected before their second birthday. However, repeat infections may occur throughout life and people of any age can be infected. Infections in healthy children and adults are generally less severe than among infants and older adults with certain medical conditions. People at highest risk for severe disease include
*Young children with congenital (from birth) heart or chronic lung disease
*Young children with compromised (weakened) immune systems due to a medical condition or medical treatment
*Children with neuromuscular disorders
*Adults with compromised immune systems
*Older adults especially those with underlying heart or lung disease
There are steps you can take to help prevent the spread of RSV. Specifically if you have cold like symptoms you should cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve, not your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid close contact such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils with others. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices.
More information can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. In our efforts to mitigate the spread of the respiratory illnesses, students who exhibit symptoms at school may be sent home by the school nurse and parents/guardians advised to consult the child's primary care provider or pediatrician for specific information regarding care. As always, if your child has symptoms of illness, please do not send them to school and remember the need to be fever free for 24 hours without medication. Thank you for your continued support for wellness.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping to keep our school healthy.