With my background as a Respiratory Therapist and Coordinator of Peds and NICU; RSV prevention is something I take very seriously. I’ve seen infants choking and struggling to breath and I’ve seen them in the ICU on ventilators because they just can’t breath well enough for themselves anymore.
What is RSV
RSV or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person’s lungs and breathing passages. For most of us it looks like nothing more than a common cold but for those who have compromised immune systems such as being a newborn, born prematurely or having another health issue that compromises their immune system it can be very serious. You need watch carefully for signs of RSV during the winter months.
- Here are some symptoms of severe RSV that you can’t ignore as they require immediate medical attention.
- Bluish color around the mouth and fingernails
- Coughing or wheezing that doesn’t stop (I’ve usually noticed it sounds like they’re choking and can’t catch their breath)
- Fast or trouble breathing or gasping
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty feeding
- Fever, especially over 100.4 degrees F in infants
RSV is present year round usually seasonal and the RSV season is typically from November thru March but may be longer in various parts of the country. RSV affects 66% of all infants by age one and almost 100% by age two. As I said earlier most cases it presents itself as nothing worse than the common cold but in some it can be deadly.
In it’s milder form RSV will usually run it’s course without any problems but it can be spread to other children and some may be at risk for developing a serious infection. That’s one reason it’s best to keep a sick child home and away from others to prevent the spread of the virus.
When dealing with a preemie the risk of RSV to the child is worse. Their little immune systems aren’t what they should be so they can’t fight the virus as well as you or I could. Parents of preemies need to be informed of the dangers of RSV as well as certain risks in a child care setting. If you have a high risk baby you may want to look at alternatives such as in home day care centers where the exposure to some germs might be minimized or a nanny. No matter which option you choose it’s important to talk to your doctor about RSV prevention.
While there is no cure for RSV there are steps you can take protect your child besides keeping sick children home.
- Proper handwashing, not only your hands but also the hands of the child and don’t be afraid to ask others to do the same
- Wash toys, clothes, blankets and bedding frequently
- Avoid crowds and other sick children during RSV season
- Avoid cigarette smoke
To learn more about RSV prevention and find out when RSV season is at it’s peak in your area got to RSVProtection.
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