'Respiratory season' prompts visitaton restrictions to pediatrics

By Kristy Bleizeffer Dec 18, 2017

To protect our youngest patients, Wyoming Medical Center is restricting visitation to our pediatric unit for children 12 and younger. We will continue to monitor the situation and reverse the visitation restrictions when appropriate.

These restrictions extend to visitors to all patients on the pediatric unit, not just our children.

This time of year is usually when we see an uptick in RSV and influenza cases. If you are visiting someone on the pediatric unit, please keep these guidelines in mind:

  • All visitors, including brothers and sisters, must be at least 13 years old. 
  • Children under 13 years of age are not to be left unattended in waiting rooms.
  • Sick visitors will not be allowed to visit and will be asked to leave the unit.

RSV

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a virus that  infects the lungs and breathing passages, and it is common this time of year. Most healthy people who contract it experience mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

It can be serious, though, especially in children and older adults. It is the most common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children younger than 1.

SYMPTOMS

  • Runny nose and decrease of appetite, usually beginning 4 to 6 days after exposure
  • Sneezing
  • Fever, usually developing 1 to 3 days after first symptoms
  • Wheezing
  • Irritability or decreased activity in infants

TREATMENT

While there is no specific treatment or vaccinations for RSV, most cases do not require hospitalization. Those who are admitted to the hospital get supportive care and are usually released within a few days. In some severe cases, infants may need supplemental oxygen, mucus suctioned from airways or intubation, according to the CDC.

PREVENTION

Most people infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days, but those with weak immune systems and some infants may be contagious for several weeks. It spreads by coughs and sneezes sending the virus through the air and coming into contact with the nose, mouth or eye of another person. It can also be spread by contact with nasal or oral secretions with infection people. The virus can survive on environmental surface, such as a door knob or table, for several hours.

To prevent transmission, follow these guidelines from the CDC:

  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands frequently, with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils
  • Don’t kiss others who may be infected
  • Clean surfaces that could be contaminated (such as cribs, door knobs and tables.)
  • Take special care with children at high risk, such as premature infants and children younger than 2 with chronic lung or heart conditions.

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