Letters, October 29 2021

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Keeping babies safe from respiratory infections

We know this winter is likely to be a difficult one for parents 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.

RSV is usually most prevalent in Scotland between October and March each year.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions in social contact meant that cases of RSV were reduced. 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.

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 across Scotland.

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

In the early stages, RSV symptoms are similar to a common cold (runny or blocked nose, cough, sneezing and high temperature).

Symptoms usually last between one and three weeks. If the lungs are affected, one or more of the following symptoms will develop or get worse:

  • A cough that gets worse
  • Wheezing – a whistling sound when breathing out
  • Difficulty or distress when breathing
  • Reduction in feeding and drinking because of breathing difficulties

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

Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive, Bliss Scotland.

Register defibrillators to help save lives

A new campaign has been launched urging defibrillator owners to register their devices on a national database to help save more lives from cardiac arrests.

Leading charities and health organisations are calling for defibrillators to be registered on The Circuit – the national defibrillator network, which connects defibrillators to NHS ambulance services across the UK.

When someone calls 999 to report a cardiac arrest, call handlers are trained to provide the location of the nearest registered defibrillator within 500m of the call. Studies show that using a defibrillator within three minutes of collapse, along with starting CPR, can greatly increase chances of survival.

This swift action can make a real difference, and The Circuit is a vital tool in helping increase bystander action to help someone in cardiac arrest.

We would urge everyone to register the defibrillators that they are responsible for, so that they can be easily located and accessed when needed.

It’s free to register your defibrillator onto The Circuit, and you only have to do it once. You can also register multiple defibrillators if you are the guardian to more than one.

Visit www.thecircuit.uk for more information.

The Circuit.