RSV is the acronym for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and it usually peaks from November through March. It is an especially dangerous virus for children younger than two years old and seniors. If you have a young child and especially one that was born premature, pay attention to the following information. RSV in children: what parents should know.
The “Other” Virus
As we hope the Covid cases will diminish this winter, unfortunately, cases of RSV are on the rise. This virus is unlike the flu or the common cold, and is much more dangerous for young children.
There are no medications to reduce symptoms or vaccines to prevent its spread. There is no awareness campaign happening, and it is spiking at unprecedented levels. Parents should be on alert for its symptoms and see PediatriCare under certain circumstances.
Although most young children get RSV at least once before they are 2 years old, healthy children often recover and it passes like a cold. Unfortunately, others can end up in the hospital emergency room.
The most vulnerable include the following:
- Premature and young infants
- Children with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease
- Adults over the age of 65
Symptoms of RSV and What You Should Know
Parents should be on the lookout for coughing, fever, runny or stuffy nose, and wheezing. Watch for signs that your child is breathing faster or putting more effort into breathing like if the skin around the ribcage is retracting when they breathe.
RSV can develop into bronchiolitis which is an inflammation of the airways. It is also the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than one year old, according to the CDC.
Call PediatriCare to find out if oxygen is needed should your child show signs of those breathing difficulties. Look for gray or blue tongue, lips, or skin and decreased activity and alertness.
Know How to Care for Your Child with RSV
Be sure to give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (less than one wet diaper every 8 hours).
Use over-the-counter fever and pain reducers for children (never aspirin).
Talk to PediatriCare before giving any over-the-counter cold medicines.
Use a cool mist humidifier to break up mucus.
Don’t hesitate to contact PediatriCare at (703) 330-3939 if you have questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms. We are always here to help.