How to Protect Your Family Against RSV
Evan’s parents love him dearly. Despite his premature birth, Evan is a thriving four month old. That is until he caught a cold from his older sister. Evan’s cough and cold symptoms rapidly worsened and he began having difficulty breathing. Concerned for Evan’s well-being, his parents took him to the pediatrician and learned that he had respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and was hospitalized.
Most common in young children, RSV is highly contagious and is contracted through the droplets expelled when sneezing or coughing. Like other viruses, RSV can live on hard surfaces, as well as hands and clothing. It is easily spread at schools and daycares. Children often bring RSV home from school or daycare and put younger siblings at risk.
Some signs and symptoms of RSV are similar to a common cold and can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Refusing to eat
- Blue tinge around lips
- Fast respiratory rate
- Signs of dehydration
Thankfully, Evan’s story has a happy ending. After some complications following hospitalization, he eventually got better and was sent home.
RSV “season” occurs from November through April. Most RSV cases are mild. In fact, by the time most children are two years of age, they have already had at least one case of it. While severe cases of RSV are rare, they do occur and sometimes result in hospitalization. Children under ten weeks of age, born prematurely or who have lung or heart disease have the greatest risk of complications from RSV.
Precautions should be made to minimize the chances of contracting the virus. Monthly injections may be recommended to help protect at-risk children from the virus. In addition, it is important to have everyone in your home wash their hands before eating. You should also make it a habit to have older kids wash their hands after returning home from school or daycare.
The health and well being of your child is of the utmost importance to the team at Rainbow Pediatrics. If you have questions about RSV, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers by calling 910-486-5437.