Virtually every baby at some point or another gets respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. It's the most common respiratory virus in infants and toddlers. Most have symptoms like that of a common cold and suffer no long-term health effects.
But in children born prematurely or with chronic lung or heart disease, RSV can cause serious, even life-threatening complications. Each year, 125,000 infants in the United States are hospitalized with severe RSV infections, making it the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the country. The Pediatric RSV Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals' Oakland campus was created to protect these high-risk children by providing them with Synagis, an FDA-approved drug that prevents serious lung infections caused by RSV.
Special RSV considerations
- Because the Synagis shot is not part of the normal immunization program and is considered an antibody against RSV, referral or consultation is required. Ongoing care and monitoring may also be needed.
- Infants and toddlers at the highest risk for complications related to RSV include those with chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, immunodeficiency disorders, neuromuscular disorders, and those who were born at 32 weeks premature (or before).
Eligibility for the Synagis treatment
Eligibility is dependent on your child's condition and age at the time of the RSV season (November through March). Talk to your doctor to learn the details.
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What to Bring
- Photo I.D.
- Health insurance card
- Insurance authorization, if required
- Doctor's referral, if required
- Recent test results related to your child's condition
- List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
- List of questions you may have
- Device or paper for taking notes