What is RSV?
RSV is the most common respiratory pathogen in infants and young children. It has infected nearly all infants by the age of two years. Seasonal outbreaks of acute respiratory illness occur each year, on a schedule that is somewhat predictable in each region. The season typically begins in the fall and runs into the spring.
RSV is spread easily by physical contact. Touching, kissing, and shaking hands with an infected person can spread RSV. Transmission is usually by contact with contaminated secretions, which may involve tiny droplets, or objects that droplets have touched. RSV can live for half an hour or more on hands. The virus can also live up to five hours on countertops and for several hours on used tissues. RSV often spreads very rapidly in crowded households and day care centers.
Each year up to 125,000 infants are hospitalized due to severe RSV disease, and about 1-2% of these infants die. Infants born prematurely, those with chronic lung disease, those who are immunocompromised, and those with certain forms of heart disease are at increased risk for severe RSV disease. Those who are exposed to tobacco smoke, who attend daycare, who live in crowded conditions, or who have school-age siblings are also at higher risk.
Breathing difficulty or labored breathing
Cough and a Croupy cough (often described as a "seal bark" cough)
Cyanosis (bluish discoloration of skin caused by lack of oxygen)
Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
Shortness of breath
A simple way to help prevent RSV infection is to wash your hands often, especially before touching your baby. It's important to make certain that other people, especially care givers, take precautions to avoid giving RSV to your baby. The following simple steps can help protect your baby:
Insist that others wash their hands with warm water and soap before touching your baby.
Have others avoid contact with the baby if they have a cold or fever. If necessary, it may be helpful to wear a mask.
Be aware that kissing the baby can spread RSV infection.
Try to keep young children away from your baby. RSV is very common among young children and easily spreads from child to child.
Do not smoke inside your house, car or anywhere near your baby. Exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of RSV illness.
Parents with high-risk young infants should avoid crowds during outbreaks of RSV. Moderate-to-large outbreaks are often reported in the local news and newspapers to provide parents with an opportunity to avoid exposure.
The drug Synagis (palivizumab) is approved for prevention of RSV disease in children younger than 24 months of age who are at high risk for serious RSV disease. Ask your doctor if your child is at high risk for RSV and whether this medicine should be given.
So that's it! Hope that helps. Luckily Parker does qualify for the synagis shot and is getting them this RSV season.