While most of the country is currently focused on the flu outbreak, there is another illness that parents need to be aware of – RSV. By being prepared and knowing the facts, you can help prevent the spread of RSV not only to your child, but to others as well.
Respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus (RSV) is a common and contagious seasonal virus that occurs in epidemics every fall through the spring. RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection. Those most at risk for severe RSV include premature infants, as their lungs aren’t fully developed and they have fewer infection-fighting antibodies than full-term babies. Once contracted, there is not treatment for RSV.
RSV is spread by hugging, touching and kissing and can live on surfaces (such as doorknobs and toys) for several hours. Daycare increases the risk of RSV spreading as children are constantly sharing toys as well as eating and napping in close quarters. By following a few simple steps, you can help prevent the spread of RSV.
Help Prevent RSV Disease:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby, and ask others to do the same
- Don’t let anyone smoke in your home, or near your baby
- Wash your baby’s toys, clothes, and bedding often
- Keep your baby away from crowds, young children and people with colds
Last month, one of my husbands family members (who is two) contracted RSV, as well as pneumonia in her left lung, and was in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) for about a week. Through that time, her parents were very scared and could only watch as the doctors worked to stabilize her and keep her comfortable while her body fought of this disease. Thankfully, she is fine now and back to being a normal toddler.
Severe RSV Symptoms That Require Immediate Medical Care:
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
- Fast or troubled breathing
- Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
If your child has milder symptoms of RSV, the virus will likely run its course without any cause for alarm. However, it is important to remember that even a mild case of RSV can be spread to other children, some of whom may be at high-risk for developing a serious infection from the virus. For this reason, it’s always best to keep a sick child home when possible, to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
As a mom to a 6 month old, I am always reminding people to make sure their hands are clean if they want to hold her, I have since her birth. Also, one major thing that drives me insane, is when people come up to her, people I don’t even really know, and touch her hands, which of course, immediately go into her mouth! I understand that people just see a cute baby and want to touch without thinking, but please touch their foot or leg, or something they won’t stick in their mouth. (OK, small rant over)
I urge you to visit RSVProtection.com to learn more about RSV, to see if your child is at risk and to learn ways to help prevent RSV Disease. Also, be sure to check out the below fact sheet on RSV. Let’s help keep all babies healthy this RSV season!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.