When children are sick our mommy (and grandma) senses are on high alert, especially if the child is small. You take your baby to the doctor or the ER and he/she tests positive for something called "RSV"... what the heck is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially those in certain high-risk groups, such as premature infants, very young infants, or a child with health conditions that affect the lungs, heart or immune system.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can cause serious problems in young babies, including pneumonia and severe breathing problems. Premature babies and those with other health problems have the highest risk. A child with RSV may have a fever, stuffy nose, cough, and trouble breathing. Lab tests can tell if your child has the virus. There is no specific treatment. You should give your child fluids to prevent dehydration. If needed, you can also give a pain reliever (not aspirin) for fever and headache.
RSV easily spreads from person to person. You can get it from direct contact with someone who has it or it by touching infected objects such as toys or surfaces such as countertops. Washing your hands often and not sharing eating and drinking utensils are simple ways to help prevent the spread of RSV infection. There is currently no vaccine for RSV.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- RSV typically causes cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, and congestion. Fevers are common. The infection can progress to the lower respiratory tract to cause more severe illness such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) or pneumonia in otherwise healthy infants and young children.
- RSV is highly contagious through close contact with infected people, and it can live on toys and other surfaces for several hours.
- Most children will have an RSV infection by the time they are 2 years old, and most will get better on their own within 8 to 15 days.
- Every year, 75,000 to 125,000 children in the United States are admitted to the hospital for RSV infections.
- For most children, fluids are the best treatment. Bronchodilators, medicines prescribed to help reduce airway resistance, may ease breathing in some cases. Antibiotics do not work against RSV, but a healthcare provider may prescribe them for complications that develop because of RSV.
- Although deaths are relatively rare, RSV can be life-threatening for immune-compromised people, including premature infants, young children with heart and lung problems, and the elderly.
- Researchers are working toward a vaccine, but none currently exists.
What can I do, I feel helpless.
Having a small child that is sick can leave you feeling helpless, they are so pitiful and feel so bad.
Here are some things you can do to help them feel better:
When to Call the Doctor or Visit the ER
Children may need treatment if they show any of the following symptoms:
- Great difficulty or fast breathing
- Excessive wheezing or high pitched noises
- Retractions, sucking in of chest wall or under sternum
- Gray or blue skin color
- High fever - greater than 101 or number your pediatrician has given you
- Thick nasal discharge that is yellow, green, or gray
- Worsening cough
- Extreme tiredness (especially during times they are normally active)
- No wet diapers in 8 hours or more
- Anything you think is abnormal, you are the best judge of your child
I hope this helps you as a parent, grandparent or nurse. Education can empower us and make us feel more in control of scary situations.