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Posted by Ros Connors

Common infant respiratory virus that could cost UK families thousands of pounds

New survey data reveals the hidden impact of infant respiratory infections on parents and families. In fact, RSV is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and hospitalisation in children worldwide. Almost all children will have had RSV by the time they are two years old.3 Most RSV infections in babies are mild and will typically clear up within a few weeks on their own. However, some cases can be more serious and hospital care may be needed. Bronchiolitis, pneumonia and croup are examples of severe illnesses that can be caused by RSV.

The survey, commissioned by Sanofi Pasteur and conducted among 1,500 parents in the UK, sheds new light on the family burden of infant LRTIs, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of parents forced to take an average of 11 unplanned days off work. This resulted in an average loss of up to £1,800 per family by the time their infant reached 12 months of age.

It also revealed that over one third of parents (37%) feel they have a lack of understanding on how to manage children’s respiratory illnesses from home and over two-thirds (69%) find information online overwhelming and/or contradictory, making it difficult for them to know what to do.1 Added to this is the emotional cost, with over one third of parents (38%) stating that their mental health was “extremely impacted” when their infant suffered with a respiratory illness.

Ros spoke to GP Dr Shireen and Professor Harish Nair, chair of paediatric of infectous diseases and global health at the University of Edinburgh.

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