I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Friends, have you heard of the RSV virus? It’s VERY common for children to get. In fact, nearly every child will contract it by the time they turn 2. It is a seasonal virus, with its peak occuring between November and March. I want to talk a bit more about what it is and what you need to know about how to decrease your chances of contracting it, because despite it being so endemic, about 1/3 of parents have actually never heard of it, and mistake it for something else. In fact, looking back, I can tell you that both of my girls have had RSV as toddlers, and I mistakenly thought they had some mild case of croup. It can be easy to misdiagnose without medical attention, so I’m hoping to help you all out this year so you can pinpoint it more easily.
What is RSV?
RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytia Virus. It primarily affects the lungs and bronchial tubes, so it does affect breathing. Symptoms of RSV are as follows:
- persistent coughing/wheezing
- rapid, difficult, gaping breaths
- bluish color around the mouth and nostrils
While most kids will experience relatively mild symptoms and may not require serious medical treatment, you should be made aware that RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants (125,000 hospitalizations last year, and 200 infant deaths from RSV).
World Prematurity Day and RSV
As we approach World Prematurity Day on November 17th, we need to be especially mindful of RSV. If one of your children was born premature, or even if you know someone with a child who was born premature, you need to be especially vigilant about watching for signs of RSV, as children born prematurely are twice as likely to contract a severe form of RSV and require hospitalization. There are some steps you can take to help keep every infant and toddler, and especially every infant and toddler born prematurely, from contracting this virus.
Is There a Cure for RSV?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for RSV at this time. Our best defense is to play great offense and do as much as we can to prevent the spread of RSV.
RSV spreads easily, through touching, sneezing, coughing and the like. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours, as well. The #1 thing we all can do to limit the spread of RSV is to be excellent hand washers. Really and truly, teaching your kids to get in the habit of regularly washing their hands is a gift for their own health, and a gift for the health of those around them.
Additionally, if you realize that your child has contracted RSV, do the right thing and keep them home and away from others until they are free and clear of the virus. While your child may have experienced relatively mild symptoms, that same virus could send another child straight to the hospital.
RSV is a rampant virus, and we aren’t going to eliminate it’s presence altogether. But the simple act of regularly and thoroughly washing our hands can dramatically reduce how quickly it spreads and will be a great thing for all those kids who WON’T get RSV because of this step being taken. It may even keep RSV from reaching your home.
Do you have any experience with RSV? After reading the symptoms, do you think your child might have ever contracted this virus and you didn’t realize it?