As parents, our top priority is keeping our children healthy and happy. We do everything we possibly can to ensure they are content, and we work tirelessly to prevent any harm from coming their way.
The worst feeling in the world, is watching your child struggle with an illness, and not being able to do anything about it.
Educating ourselves, to increase awareness of common childhood ailments, is our best defense, especially during the fall and winter months.
October is National RSV Awareness Month, a time for parents to learn about the signs and symptoms of RSV disease, and how to protect their newborn.
RSV, which stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a common, highly contagious, seasonal virus that most often occurs between November and March in the United States. It is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies under a year old.
Shortly after bringing my 4th child home from the hospital, he began to show signs of RSV. Thankfully, because I was aware of what to look for, we went directly to the pediatrician, where my son was diagnosed. We were able to quickly remedy the situation, which prevented more serious issues.
Although RSV is quite common, affecting most children before their second birthday, the severity can differ greatly. For some kids, RSV causes nothing more than cold-like symptoms. For others, it can be much more serious, leading to bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways of the lungs) or even pneumonia.
Despite being so common, many parents have never heard of RSV. Education is key, and prevention is critical, when it comes to protecting our children.
Here is what you should know, to keep your little one safe:
What are the symptoms of RSV?
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
How can parents help prevent RSV?
- Wash hands often, and encourage others to do the same
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean
- Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
- Never let anyone smoke around your baby
- Steer clear of people who are sick, or who have recently been sick
You can visit the RSV website to learn more about the disease, including tips on how to talk with your pediatrician about your child’s risk factors, data regarding the RSV season in your area, and real stories from families who have dealt with RSV.