Have you heard of RSV? No? Here are a few facts that may surprise you:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
RSV can live on surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, toys, bedding) for several hours and is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing. RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection. 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.
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.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.
Now, I know, you think this won’t happen to me. However, Bill has a cousin whose son had RSV. I also have a cousin whose son also got RSV. It can and does happen to people you know!
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.