It’s a frightening world out there, especially for parents of babies and toddlers during flu season. In addition to the flu there’s the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It’s extremely common for children under 2 to be infected with the virus as it’s caused by the same virus as the common cold. The most serious cases of RSV occur when premature infants and babies with congenial heart defects become infected. That being said, RSV is cause for concern in all infants and babies.
Babies with RSV may have one or more of these symptoms:
- High fever
- Severe cough
- Breathing issues: wheezing, difficulty breathing and/or rapid breaths
- Bluish color skin (due to lack of oxygen)
If DB* experiences any of these symptoms or becomes ill and you’re concerned, call your doctor. Depending on the severity of infection RSV is treated a number of ways. Treatment may entail something as simple as using a humidifier at night and providing additional fluids or it might require the use of a nebulizer and/or hospitalization.
You can help prevent RSV by using the same precautions used to protect against the common cold:
- Constant hand washing (both you & DB)
- Limited contact with children who are ill (almost impossible if DB is in daycare or you want to leave the house and bring your child to a class or to the gym with you!)
- Wash toys & disinfect surfaces
- Change DB into fresh clothes after contact with other kids or an outing in a public space (children’s museum, gym, story time, etc)
- Try to adhere to a sleep/nap routine
- Provide additional fluid
- Provide age appropriate healthy snacks chock full of vitamins & essential minerals
- Use a humidifier/vaporizer in DB’s room
If preventative measures fail – it’s not your fault – it’s the norm. Contact your pediatrician with any questions or concerns. No question is too small and it’s better have your child seen as soon as possible then be fraught with worry or silently waiting to see if symptoms progress.
*DB denotes your Dear Baby