October is National RSV Awareness Month.
What is RSV?
RSV is a common seasonal virus that typically occurs between November and March in the US and is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life. Premature babies are particularly at risk for developing severe RSV disease due to their underdeveloped lungs. Nearly 100% of infants will contract RSV by the age of 2.
RSV is something I am all too familiar with. This past March, at the tender age of 6 months, my son ended up getting it. As a first time mom I always made sure to be extra precautious when out with him and I carried, as well as used, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes like it was my second job. Letting my guard down just ONE time is what ultimately led to him getting sick. The weather that day was beautiful and I decided to head to the park to stroll around just so we both could get some fresh air. I ended up passing by the newly renovated kids park and thought it was about time he got to try out the swings. He laughed and smiled so big while on them and we truly had such a great time. A few days later I noticed he just wasn’t himself. He wasn’t very active, had a runny nose and had a slight fever. Within 24 hours of noticing those signs, I also noticed his breathing was different and his fever spiked. When I brought him to the pediatrician he was diagnosed with RSV and we were given a nebulizer to treat him. I drove myself nuts upon returning home retracing my steps and trying to figure out who he was around that could of passed this on to him when it hit me — THE PARK! I was so in the moment that day I never wiped down the swing (ok, I know that might be extra but I still feel like I should have done that) or his hands when he got off. I have a ton of pictures and videos of him on the swing and his hands are in his mouth the whole time! I felt so defeated as a Mom at that point but my main concern was getting him better. I knew RSV was not your typical cold but as a first time mom, all of this was new to me. The next day it was even worse and we ended up having to take him to the hospital. He was having a tough time breathing since he was so stuffy which basically led to him to not wanting any fluids and I feared he would end up dehydrated. Seeing him in that mini hospital gown and watching what he was going through was so heartbreaking but it was a relief when we got the OK to go home. I had to monitor him closely for the next few days and it was such a great feeling once he was back to himself.
I wanted to share my experience with RSV because any child can catch it – even those who have a mom, like me, who is extra when it comes to trying to keep their child germ free.
Now that you know what RSV is, let’s talk about the signs as well as some ways you can help prevent RSV. Babies lungs are fragile and it’s important us parents know how to keep our little ones safe this season. Severe RSV disease can cause up to 125K infant hospitalizations and around 200 infant deaths in the US each year.
What are the signs of RSV?
-coughing or wheezing that does not stop
-troubled breathing / gasping for breathe
-fever over 100.4
-bluish color around mouth and fingernails
– spread out nostrils or caved in chest when breathing
*Please call your baby’s healthcare provider if you see these symptoms of RSV
How do I prevent RSV?
RSV disease is spread just as easily as the flu. Sneezing, coughing and toughing are all examples of ways RSV can put your infant in risk.
-Wash your hands throughly before holding your baby and make sure others do the same
-Keep your young baby away from large crowds, young children and people with colds
-Wash your baby’s toys, bedding and clothing often -Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby. Tobacco irritates babies airways and can affect the growth of their lungs.
*There isn’t a cure for RSV diesease but there are measures you can take to prevent it.
Visit http://bit.ly/RSVProtection to learn more about RSV disease and how to help keep your child healthy this RSV season! #LittleLungs #RSVAwarenessMonth