As a Registered Nurse I am quite familiar with RSV and have seen firsthand what happens to babies that come down with it. It’s nothing to mess around with for a specific set of babies. What do you know about RSV? Are you educated enough about it to keep your family and loved ones healthy and well? If you are asking yourself what RSV is or what you might need to know about it then read on for a quick rundown on what you as a parent or caregiver needs to know.
I’ve broken down the big points that you need to know when it comes to RSV into a simple Q & A below. This is a quick way to read through and learn the important facts about RSV and how you can protect your little ones.
So what is RSV and what’s the big deal?
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common, seasonal virus that affects two-thirds of all infants by age one and almost 100% of babies by age two, because it’s highly contagious. RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection.
Who is at high risk for problems associated with RSV?
Premature infants are very susceptible to infection in the early weeks of their lives, so contracting something as small as the common cold can present danger. Because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, this is especially worrisome for very pre-term babies in daycare, or with school-aged siblings who bring germs into the home. 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.
Where do kids “catch” RSV and how is it spread?
RSV can live on surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, toys, bedding) for several hours and is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing.
Daycare increases this risk of RSV spreading as children are constantly sharing toys, tables and high chairs as well as eating and napping in close quarters.
When is RSV “in season” or most worrisome to catch?
The RSV season typically runs from November through March, so during the winter months parents should be especially careful to watch for signs of RSV.
What are the symptoms of RSV?
Below are symptoms of severe RSV infection 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 a child has milder symptoms of RSV, the virus will likely run its course without any cause for parental alarm. It is important; however, for these parents 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.
How do I prevent RSV?
Once contracted, there is no treatment for RSV, so working together to prevent the risk of RSV is critical. All parents should take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including always washing their hands and child’s hands, and asking others to do the same. It’s also important to remember to keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean and avoid crowds and other sick children during RSV season.
Prevention is especially important for babies at increased risk of becoming ill from RSV. Parents of preemies should be informed of the dangers of RSV, as well as the risks that certain child care settings can present. If possible, parents of highrisk babies may want to consider alternate options, such as nannies or in-home daycare centers, where exposure to dangerous germs can be minimized. Regardless of child care settings, it’s important for parents who believe their child may be at high-risk for RSV to speak with a doctor about prevention.
For more information on RSV and to help loved ones and caregivers learn more, visit RSVProtection.com. The best way to prevent RSV is to arm yourself and the caregivers of your child, of the facts surrounding RSV.
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.