Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Baton Rouge General.
Is it a Cold or RSV?
For most healthy babies and young children, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is pretty much like a cold. But, because it may lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia in those younger than one year old, some children get very sick with RSV.
For parents, it’s common to mistake symptoms of RSV for symptoms of a cold, like coughing, sneezing and a fever. So how can you tell if those sniffles are something more than a cold? If your child has RSV, they may experience other symptoms too, including:
- Wheezing noise when they breathe
- Refusing to breastfeed or bottle-feed
- Unusually irritable
- Trouble breathing or pauses in their breathing
- Signs of dehydration, including a lack of tears when crying, fewer than 1 wet diaper every 8 hours, and cool, dry skin
RSV symptoms usually last an average of 5-7 days, peaking around days 3-5. Medications like steroids and antibiotics won’t help with RSV, but the good news is that most children recover on their own with help from fluids, suctioning, humidifiers and acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you notice any of the symptoms above, call your child’s pediatrician right away.
RSV spreads just like the common cold – from one person to another. The virus enters the body through the nose or eyes usually one of three ways: Direct person-to-person contact with saliva, mucus or nasal discharge, unclean hands, or unclean objects or surfaces. RSV can survive 30 or more minutes on unwashed hands and up to 6 hours on surfaces, toys, keyboards, etc.
To help protect your child from RSV practice good hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should also try to limit your child’s exposure to crowds and large groups of people outside your family. Also, remember to regularly disinfect surfaces in your home.
Be especially vigilant if your baby was born prematurely, is under 12 weeks of age, or is younger than two and was born with heart or lung disease. These groups are at the highest risk for developing RSV.
If your baby is very tired, breathes rapidly, or has a blue tint to their lips or fingernails, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.