RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person’s lungs and breathing passages. This can be potentially dangerous to small children. Most children will have caught it by age two, and most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks…but the virus will still be spreadable for 1 to 3 weeks. Premature babies are at the highest risk and the virus can easily put them in the hospital for weeks, plus lead to lung problems later on in life.
Much like the flu or cold, RSV spikes at certain times of the year. This is referred to the RSV season. RSV usually starts in the fall and runs through spring, however this varies depending on where you live. The symptoms start out similar to a cold but soon worsen. It takes 4 to 6 days after being infected for the child to get sick. Symptoms like coughing, sneezing and fever will start in about 1 to 3 days. Here are the RSV warning signs to look for: coughing or wheezing that does not stop; fast or troubled breathing, fever (especially if it is greater than 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age), bluish color around the mouth or fingernails, Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe, and gasping for breath. If your child has any of these symptoms, you must call your doctor immediately.
Prevention is fairly easy and is mostly the same as preventing a cold. Keep your hands clean before touching your baby. And don’t feel bad about asking other to do the same. I was a stickler on that when my daughter was little. Wash their toys, clothing and bedding often. Don’t let anyone smoke in your home or around your baby. Also, keep your baby away from sick people, colds and other young children.
Now, up until I was asked to write this post, I had never heard of this virus before. Not once has her doctor ever mentioned it, even right after she was born and was in to get her first shots. My daughter is rarely sick, however the few times she has been we’ve been asked if she had any of the above mentioned symptoms. Thankfully she didn’t, but we had no idea that she could have potentially ended up in the hospital with a serious illness…especially since several of the symptoms are the same as a regular cold. Maybe her doctor didn’t think she was at risk, but I would have liked to have known about it so that I knew what to look for.
Talk to your doctor about your child’s risk factor. You can also visit RSV Protection to find out more about the disease, symptoms, and prevention. They also have a handy fact sheet that you can print out. Having information is key in knowing about the disease and on how to prevent it.
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.