Parents of newborns are being warned to protect their babies from lung infections because Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital is seeing an increase in the number of cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) causing bronchiolitis.
A high number of young children have required admission and specialized treatment, including wearing oxygen masks and being put on a ventilator, a news release from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said today. Bronchiolitis is an infection of the small airways in the lungs. It can occur all year round, but is most common during the winter months. The following numbers reflect cases since August 2012, but an increase in admissions started in mid-December:
• 149 lab confirmed cases
• 85 admissions to Children’s Hospital in December
• 29 admissions in November
• 12 admissions in less than 28 days
• 63 admissions were between 1 and 6 months
• 87 admissions were from outside Winnipeg (non R2 and R3 postal codes)
• 43 of the 149 cases were seen in Children’s Hospital Emergency Department, treated and released
"Keep babies away from public crowded areas like shopping malls and schools where there may be people with colds or other illnesses," Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg said in the release.
The best methods of prevention include proper hygiene and reduced exposure to public settings and cigarette-smoke, she said.
Monitor cold-like symptoms carefully. Contact your doctor if your baby or child:
• Has a hard time breathing with wheezing
• Has a frequent choking cough
• Is fatigued and not playful
• Is not feeding well and has fewer than three wet diapers per day
• Looks off-colour (pale, dusky)