Have you heard of Respiratory syncytial virus? You’ve probably heard the term RSV but if I asked you what it was, would you be able to tell me, exactly? It’s a common, seasonal virus that affects two-thirds of all infants by the age of one and nearly 100% of all babies by age two because it is highly contagious. Yes, you read that right, 100% of all babies by the age of 2!
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. 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)
Milder cases of RSV may go undetected by parents and caregivers and the virus will run it’s course looking much like a common cold. However, just because it is a mild case doesn’t mean it can’t spread to other children and that is one of the reasons when you child is young you should NEVER send them to child care or school when displaying symptoms of RSV.
In children who are especially young or who have pre-existing respiratory problems getting RSV can be especially dangerous resulting in severe respiratory infections. Parents of preemies are especially cautioned about child care and the risk of RSV. Since RSV is spread so easily through contact of common surfaces such as toys, bedding, countertops, and doorknobs most children in daycare will become infected at one time or another.
A few facts about RSV that all parents, caregivers and loved ones should know:
- Almost every baby will contract RSV by age 2, but only 1/3 of moms say they’ve heard of the virus.
- Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as beginning in November and lasting through March for most parts of North America.
- Certain babies are at an increased risk of developing serious RSV infection, so it’s important to speak with a pediatrician to determine if a baby may be at high risk for RSV, and discuss preventive measures.
- There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their child (wash hands, toys, bedding frequently; avoid crowds and cigarette smoke).
Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
Visit www.RSVProtection.com and follow #RSVProtection on Twitter for more information.
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.