Officials with the Costa Rica Ministry of Health and the National Children’s Hospital are reporting an increase in cases of respiratory diseases, particularly respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since April, according to a ministry news release (computer translated).

Costa Rica /CIA
Costa Rica /CIA

The National Children’s Hospital notes that they have seen 64% more children for severe acute respiratory infections so far this year and an increase of 60% requiring intensive care, compared to the same period last year.

This virus causes flu-like symptoms in older children; however, in younger children it can cause respiratory distress which may manifest as irritability, refusal to drink milk, rapid breathing, wheezing, nasal flaring and blueness of the skin in severe cases where oxygen is not reaching the tissues.

The following recommendations have been issued for children under one year, and children with risk factors for asthma, other lung diseases, chronic diseases affecting the brain, metabolic diseases, diabetes, premature infants, heart disease, among others:

Avoid exposing children to sick people, not attend places where there are crowds in justified cases, completely avoid smoking, wash your hands frequently and second choice clean hands with alcohol-based solutions, cover with the forearm when coughing and sneezing or using a tissue to prevent saliva droplets from spreading), feeding children under two years with breastfeeding, keeping up with the vaccination schedule and take proper control of asthmatic children and fulfill their respective treatment.