With the flu and norovirus tummy bug going around like gangbusters, I hope you’re reminding your family members to wash their hands frequently and to use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. It’s also a good idea to frequently wipe down kitchen surfaces with bleach or disinfecting spray or wipes to help prevent the spread of germs.
However, November through March is also RSV season. RSV usually causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in children, but in some babies it results in a serious respiratory infection. Those most at risk for severe RSV include premature infants, as their lungs aren’t fully developed and they have fewer infection-fighting antibodies than full-term babies. As a mom of two preemies, I was always on the lookout for RSV. Luckily, Lucie and Nathan never got it.
Daycare and RSV
If you’re a parent of a high-risk baby, you may want to consider alternative child care options, such as nannies or in-home daycare centers, where exposure to dangerous germs can be minimized. However, RSV doesn’t just affect babies who are in daycare. The two girls I know of who were hospitalized this winter with RSV and needed oxygen were two- and four-years-old and had stay-at-home caregivers.
RSV symptoms and prevention
Since you never know where your child will be exposed to RSV, it’s best to be on the lookout for symptoms of severe RSV infection:
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
- Fast or 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)
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty feeding
Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.
Since there’s also no treatment for RSV, it’s important for parents and caregivers to take preventive steps to help protect the children in their care like frequent washing of hands, toys, and bedding. Those at risk should also avoid crowds, people who are sick, and cigarette smoke.
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.