This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
RSV hits home:
I can still remember the phone call: my friend was in the hospital with her new son. They don’t know, she said.
This was not her first rodeo, she was a mom already, she knew the drill. And yet, as she sat in the waiting room of our local children’s hospital, there was a panic in her voice I’d never heard before. As we hung up the phone, we both deduced from his symptoms: her son had RSV. Not long after, a team of doctors and nurses confirmed.
His hospital admission, the days of IVs and sleepless hours passing in uncertainty left our community of moms shaken. After four days, the love came home, and slowly life returned to normal. However, that experience taught our community a lot about RSV.
What is RSV?
RSV is a common, seasonal virus that typically occurs between November and March in the United States and is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life.
The biggest threat to babies’ fragile lungs is RSV. To help spread awareness about how parents and caregivers can protect their children’s lungs, October has been declared National RSV Awareness Month. It’s so important to know the facts about RSV, because the earlier you recognize the signs and symptoms of RSV disease as well as prevention measures you can take, the better a chance for a full recovery are for your child.
Symptoms of RSV
- Nasal congestion, runny nose, mild cough, and low-grade fever are the typical initial symptoms of both the mild and of the more severe forms of the disease.
- Barking cough, which can be a sign of significant swelling in and around the vocal cords
- Fever, either low grade (less than 101 degrees F) or high (more than 103 degrees F)
- Difficulty breathing that includes abnormally fast, nasal flaring or “caving-in” of the chest in between the ribs and under the ribs (chest wall retractions)
- Wheezing (a high-pitched whistling sound as the patient breathes out)
- Difficulty drinking
- Lethargy or irritability
- Bluish color around the mouth, lips, and fingernails
- Apnea (stopping breathing) is a common symptom of RSV bronchiolitis among very young infants, especially those born prematurely
Causes and risk factors of RSV in babies:
RSV is caused by a virus and spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus enters the body through the nose or mouth or very often through the eyes- which happens way easier than you think! Babies are always exploring, and those sweet hands make it to their eyes and mouths in a blink!
- Crowded places with people who may be infected
- Exposure to other children (e.g., in daycare) or to older siblings attending school
- Infants younger than 6 months of age
- Young children, especially those under 1 year of age, who were born prematurely or who have an underlying condition, such as congenital heart or lung disease
- Children with weakened immune systems
How to prevent RSV
RSV is highly contagious, but there are some ways to help your baby not contract it:
- Avoiding close contact with infected people;
- Avoiding sharing cups, bottles, or toys that may have been contaminated with the virus (it can live on surfaces for several hours); and
- Thorough hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds after coming into contact with an infected person.
While RSV is certainly scary, recognizing the signs and doing everything you can to prevent exposure and contraction is the best place to start. For more information, please visit the RSV Protection Website today.
How are you prepping for the RSV season? We are doing hand wash reminders after each activity and before every meal and we are making a more conscious effort to keep our hands off of our faces!