The RSV or respiratory syncytial virus is a very severe disease that has already killed six Costa Rican children.
This virus causes symptoms similar to those of a cold (fever, loss of appetite, runny nose, cough and wheezing). However, it can be dangerous, especially for infants and the elderly.
The RSV spreads through coughing and sneezing, and touching dirty surfaces and then eyes, nose or mouth. Most children who contracted the virus were under 2 years old. Children who show the symptoms and recover within one week are healthy. However, the respiratory syncytial virus can cause serious lung infections, including bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
Currently, there is no vaccine against it, but there is a drug (called palivizumab) consisting of a series of monthly injections.
You can also help protect yourself, protect your child and others from RSV infection by following these tips:
1 Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and help young children to do the same. If you do not have soap and water, use hand sanitizers based on alcohol.
2 Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you have not washed your hands.
3 Avoid close contact with sick people, such as kissing, hugging or sharing glasses, cups or eating utensils.
4 Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then dispose of the tissue.
5 Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch frequently as toys and doorknobs.
6 Stay home if you are sick. This will help protect others from catching the virus.