How much do you know about RSV? If you are a parent-you need to know all about this nasty virus. We are still in RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) season, which usually runs from November through March… but can vary depending on where you live.With an estimated 82% of children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years old spending time in a daycare setting, you can easily see how quickly germs can spread. RSV can live on surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, toys, bedding) for several hours and is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing. There is no cure, which is why prevention is key. That’s why it’s always best to keep a sick child home whenever possible, to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. During RSV season, parents should always wash their hands and their children’s hands and remember to keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean. Make sure your daycare is doing the same. Ask them if they are familiar with RSV and the methods to prevent it. Share this blog post with them, and have them go to this website to learn more about RSV protection.
When I worked in pediatrics, we would see a steady stream of children with RSV every winter. They would usually leave the office with a breathing machine, so they could continue treatments with Albuterol at home. The symptoms of RSV include persistent coughing or wheezing – trouble breathing (look for flared nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe), with difficult or rapid breaths – fever – blue color of the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails – extreme fatigue – difficulty feeding. If your baby/child displays any of these symptoms, please call your healthcare provider and have them seen. RSV usually causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms; but some infants can experience a serious lung infection. Preemies are especially at risk. If your child is a preemie, talk to your pediatrician about your RSV concerns. Severe RSV causes 125,000 infant hospitalizations every year in the United States. I know two moms that had to watch their little ones suffer with RSV this season. Clara, (pictured below while she was ill with RSV), was a preemie at birth. While she did not require a hospital stay, she did have to be seen in ER and urgent care on more than one occasion. She was given breathing treatments and is now feeling much better.
Such was not the case for Brooklyn, (pictured below) she was hospitalized for 11 days! During that time, she was hooked up to IV’s, oxygen and feeding tubes. Eleven long days in the hospital, all because of RSV.
There’s nothing sadder than a baby in the hospital, as a parent you feel helpless. Please take measures to help prevent RSV this season. Talk to your friends and family members, help educate them. Special thanks to the parents of both Clara & Brooklyn, for letting me use their photos and share their RSV stories with you! I am so glad they are both healthy & happy babies again!