As a mom, I try to stay informed on the latest health issues, but honestly there’s just too much information out there to keep it all stored in this mommy brain of mine that’s constantly juggling 10 different things at once. So every now and then it’s nice to get a little reminder about things we should be looking out for.
With that said, today I would like to tell you about a common, seasonal virus that affects most babies by age 2. So if you have a young baby or toddler, particularly one that’s in daycare or preschool, you may want to read this.
What is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus that is highly contagious. It affects two-thirds of all babies by age one and almost 100% of babies by age two. It is often spread through touching, hugging and kissing and can live on surfaces for several hours.
What are the symptoms of RSV?
During RSV season, typcially November through March, parents should be aware of RSV which usually causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, and in some babies can result in a serious respiratory infection. Premature infants are at higher risk for severe RSV as their lungs aren’t fully developed.
Severe RSV symptoms that require immediate medical care include:
· 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)
How can I prevent the spread of RSV?
To prevent the spread of the virus, parents should encourage children to wash hands regularly, and keep blankets, clothes, toys and other shared items clean. Avoiding crowds and sick children is also very helpful.
More facts about RSV that you 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.
- 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).
To learn more about RSV, please visit 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.