So many people don't know what RSV is. I knew a little about it and that it landed many kids in the hospital during RSV season (Jan-Feb) So here it is! Pretty quick overview of it! It's been around since 1959 the doctor told us. This is what they finally ended up diagnosing Jocelyn with!
What is RSV?RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, causes coldlike symptoms during the winter months. It's not a dangerous virus in itself, but it can lead to ear infections, bronchiolitis (infection of the small airways, called bronchioles), pneumonia, or later development of asthma or other respiratory problems. Almost every baby contracts it before age 2, but it can be especially dangerous for babies under 6 months old, babies with underlying medical problems, and premature infants, whose immune systems are weaker.
How can I tell if my baby has RSV?Your baby may appear to have a mild cold, but then a few days later, his cough gets worse and his breathing becomes labored (this is what happened on Monday night!). This is because the virus has infected the bronchioles, causing them to swell and produce more mucus, which can plug up your baby's airway and make it harder to breathe. Signs that your baby may have a serious infection include flaring his nostrils, excessively expanding his rib cage, tightening his abdominal muscles, grunting when breathing, wheezing (a high-pitched whistling sound) when breathing, quickened breathing (more than 60 breaths per minute), bluish lips or nails, and feeding problems(Jocelyn had ALL this starting Monday night which is why we went to Urgent care, except she ate fine).What should I do if I think my baby has RSV?Call your baby's doctor (or after hours GO to urgent care and get a "fast pass" like we did to the ER! Even when the baby is sick, the ER is no place to be). She may want you to bring your baby to the office to have his breathing and oxygen checked (they put a device on the babies toe and it tells the doctor is their are maintain their oxygen levels-should be around 92-95. Jocelyn's was 84-88!). Your doctor may recommend a breathing treatment with an inhaled bronchodilator medicine, which helps some babies breathe easier. Because RSV is a virus, antibiotics are of no use, but you can help relieve your baby's symptoms at home. Keep your baby well hydrated and away from smoke and fumes, which can make compromised breathing even more difficult. Some babies will prefer smaller, more frequent feedings, since it may be hard for them to breathe and suck at the same time. Try easing labored breathing with saline nose drops and a bulb syringe (to loosen and remove mucus from the nose), a cool-mist vaporizer, or some method of keeping your baby's head elevated a little when he sleeps (such as a towel under his crib mattress, but not a pillow under his head). You can give your baby acetaminophen if he has a fever, but don't use any other medications without your doctor's advice. The doctor may recommend that premature infants and babies born with lung or heart disease receive a series of shots during the RSV season that, like the flu shot, help protect against the virus.
I WISH they would make an RSV vaccine for ALL kids!