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Valley pediatrician offers tips to avoid RSV during holiday season

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PHOENIX — Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms but can be seriously dangerous for babies.

The Center for Disease Control estimates 57,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infections each year in the United States.

Those with the greatest risk for severe illness include premature infants 6 months and younger, children with chronic lung and heart disease, and children with weakened immune systems.

“We definitely recommend lots of hand washing for anyone coming into the house,” pediatrician Dr. Russell Horton with Banner Health told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “And definitely washing their hands before their going to touch or hold the baby.”

Horton says they see the serious dangers firsthand with babies and RSV.

“In addition to typical cold symptoms that it starts with, it can start to cause problems in the lungs and with the breathing,” Horton said.

The best advice medical professionals give to new parents or anyone with a newborn around is to stay away from germs and be protective.

“Taking those extra precautions for new parents, having them stay away from large crowds,” Horton added. “Also kind of being protective and being willing to tell people ‘hey, I’m really sorry but we need to stay away from the baby to keep the baby safe.'”

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