This year’s winter illness season seems especially bad. Just about everyone I know has come down with something (including everyone in our own house). In the news, there is a lot of talk of the flu and norovirus (the nasty stomach bug). But, there is another virus you should be aware of this time of year…RSV. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus that affects two-thirds of all infants by age one and almost 100% of babies by age two, because it’s highly contagious. RSV typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, but in some babies (premature infants are most at risk) it results in a serious respiratory infection. In fact, RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.Unfortunately, we just dealt with RSV at our house. Baby Brother had it (and his pediatrician said it is quite possible that Mr. Mom Endeavors & I also had the bug as well. People of any age can contract the virus. It just tends to be extra serious in babies). We were all wheezing and coughing–for weeks! Baby Brother and I still have a cough! But, thankfully, it didn’t result in an serious infection for him. Though we tried a breathing treatment in the Dr.‘s office, it didn’t work. So, we just had to monitor him for some very specific symptoms that indicate a serious RSV infection & would require immediate attention, including:
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
- Fast or labored/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)
Thankfully, none of those symptoms ever occurred. And, even though the cough persists, we’ve been back to the doctor and Baby Brother’s lungs sound MUCH better. No more signs of RSV! Here are 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 (so good thing you’re reading this post! )
- RSV occurs in epidemics each fall through spring. The CDC has defined “RSV season” as November 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.
- If you’re child is exhibiting cold-like symptoms, RSV could be the culprit. Know the symptoms of serious RSV infection which 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).
For more information on RSV, the symptoms, or prevention, be sure to visit RSVProtection.com and follow #RSVProtection on Twitter.
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. However, as always all experiences are entirely my own & I know first hand how important this topic is!