Keeping babies safe from respiratory infections

Health / Sat 23rd Oct 2021 at 09:24am

AT Bliss they know this winter is likely to be a difficult one for parents in the South East due to the risks caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections.

RSV is a common virus that causes cold like symptoms but can cause critical illnesses such as bronchiolitis in babies born premature or sick.

Like other seasonal coughs, colds and flu, RSV is usually most prevalent in the UK between October and March each year. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions in social contact meant that cases of RSV were reduced. However, since people began mixing again, there has steadily been an increase in cases ahead of the usual winter seasonal trend, mainly in children aged under five.

Already hospitals across the UK are dealing with a highly unusual surge in illness among pre-school children, with thousands more under-fives than normal presenting with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections at A&E departments each week.

Thanks to a new grant award from the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund*, Bliss will be working to provide information and support about RSV and respiratory infections directly to families of premature and sick babies at neonatal units in the South East and across England.

Through our new campaign we also want to make sure, especially, that we reach the region’s Black, Asian, Eastern European and other ethnic minority communities, as well as those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. This is because they may be less likely to have access to accessible healthcare information, or to go to healthcare professionals for support. Information will be translated into a range of different languages including Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati and Polish. Parents will also be able to translate our online information into their language of choice.

If your baby was born prematurely, is prone to lung infections or was born with a congenital heart problem, they could be at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with RSV.

We are urging all parents to know the warning signs of respiratory conditions and to contact their health care professional when they need to.

To find out more please visit bliss.org.uk/RSV

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