As parents our main goal is to keep our children healthy and safe. We don't ever want any harm to come to them and we hate to see them sick and miserable. So we have to do our best to protect them. RSV is a virus that attacks the lungs and can be very dangerous to babies and young children. I remember hearing about RSV before I had my own children, but I had no idea how easily a baby could catch it until my 2 month old baby boy caught RSV. It was one of the scariest few days of my life.
We all know babies love to put things in their mouth and babies and kids love to get close to other kids. They wipe their noses with their hands and they cough without covering their mouth all the time. Babies, especially very young or premature babies, have very weak immune systems. So when big sister or brother brings a virus home from school, they have a very good chance of catching it. This is usually what happens with RSV. For adults and older children, RSV produces cold-like symptoms. This is what happened to us. My three year old son came home from Mom's Morning Out with a what we thought was a cold. He had a runny nose and was coughing some. Those were his only symptoms. Just a few days later, our two month old son was wheezing, coughing, and really struggling to breathe.
RSV is a seasonal virus that is typically at it's worst November through March. If your baby or child is suffering from the following symptoms he/she may have RSV:
- coughing or wheezing that does not stop
- fast breathing or struggling to breathe
- spread out nostrils or caved in chest when trying to breathe
- bluish color around the mouth or fingers
- fever (especially if it is over 100.4 in babies 3 months and under)
If your child is struggling to breathe and has one or more of those symptoms take them to see a doctor as soon as possible. RSV is a virus so there isn't a treatment to get rid of it but there are ways to treat the symptoms so the baby or child is more comfortable during the course of the virus. My son had to be on a nebulizer breathing treatment every four hours around the clock to help him breathe while he had the virus.
RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization every year and is responsible for over 500 infant deaths each year. That is really scary to think about. Since RSV is a virus and there is no treatment for it, we as parents must do everything we can to protect our children from it. Ways to protect your children from RSV include:
- wash hands frequently
- wash surfaces, toys, and bedding frequently
- keep sick children at home and away from other children and babies
- keep your baby away from large crowds where someone may be sick
- don't smoke and don't let others smoke around your baby
It was a very scary ordeal when my son had RSV. He was a typically healthy baby and to see him struggling to breathe and coughing so much was horrible. We were very lucky and he did not have to be hospitalized but some babies do. Some babies and children are at a higher risk of getting RSV so talk with your child's pediatrician to know whether or not your child is at a higher risk. Do whatever you can to prevent your child from getting this virus and if your child does start to show symptoms of RSV contact medical care immediately.
For more information on RSV and how to protect your family from it visit www.rsvprotection.com
Disclosure: 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.