How to Protect Your Baby From RSV This Winter
Despite the unusually warm winter we are experiencing, our smallest family members remain at risk for getting sick, and one bug in particular can land them in the emergency room.
RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can often lead to infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract and is the leading cause of hospitalizations among babies during their first year of life. According to the CDC, almost all children have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. Despite its’ prevalence, it is important for parents to know how to protect their child from RSV this winter.
In adults and older children, RSV is nothing more than the common cold. Yet for a small percentage of babies, RSV can turn into a more serious infection such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which is an inflammation of the bronchioles or small air passages, in the lungs. The greatest risk for a severe infection can occur in infants under ten weeks of age, premature infants, as well as children under age two that are born with heart or lung disease or have a weakened immune system.
RSV can be easily be spread by coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated objects such as toys. Since the common cold is so common, it is easy to minimize the impact a cold can have on others. That is why it is so important to take precautions to protect new babies from people who are sick. Grandparents
Some symptoms of RSV include:
- High fever (infants 3 months or younger with over a 100.4 temperature)
- Severe cough or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Thick discharge from nose
- A cough that produces a green, yellow or gray mucus
- Refusal to bottle or breast feed
A sick-child appointment should be made with a pediatric provider if any of the symptoms are present. If the baby is breathing rapidly or appears to be lethargic or have a blue tint, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.
The best way to prevent RSV is through diligent hand washing and disinfecting hard surfaces such as toys, countertops and doorknobs. Parents of infants under 10 weeks of age should avoid crowds or public events as much as possible during RSV season, which is November through March. This will help protect the baby from anyone who may be sick.
Your child’s care is a priority to the team at Rainbow Pediatrics. If you think your child may have RSV or if you have further questions about preventing your child from contracting RSV, contact Rainbow Pediatrics at 910-486-5437 or visit online.