What You Need to Know About RSV in Babies
There are many things that may cause illness to your baby. Since they do not have a fully-established immune system yet, they are prone to a lot of illnesses such as viral and bacterial infections, to name a few.
One of the most common viruses that may cause some problems to your baby is the RSV, which stands for Respiratory Synctial Virus. It is a common and highly contagious viral infection that can affect the respiratory tract of most young children or babies before they reach their second birthday.
The virus can be thought of originally as a fever and can be detected using a baby thermometer. In most cases, it is considered to be okay considering how common this condition is. However, there are some children that may get some serious conditions when they contract the virus, in which you need to consult their doctor immediately.
There are some babies who are more predisposed to a serious condition when they contract the RSV, including:
- Babies who are born prematurely
- Children that is under two years of age that has a lung or heart disease
- Children that is under 10 weeks’ old
- Infants who have weakened immune systems due to another medical condition or due to a medical treatment.
When your baby is infected with the RSV, they may exhibit cold-like symptoms such as runny nose and coughing and may usually persist for about 1-2 weeks.
If your baby is experiencing the following, you will need to call their pediatrician immediately:
- They have difficulty breathing
- Their cough produces either green, gray, or yellow mucus
- They are unusually inactive
- Refuses to be bottle-fed or breastfed
- If they exhibit signs of dehydration such as crying without tears, not wetting their diapers, etc.
How to Prevent It
Although this is quite a common viral infection, there are actually some things that you can do to help prevent it, such as:
- Washing their hands often, especially if they come in contact with a person that has colds
- Clean hard surfaces and disinfect them as well
- Allow people to touch your baby only after they’ve washed their hands
- If you have colds, avoid kissing your baby
- Smoking near or around the baby is highly discouraged
- If your baby naturally has a weaker immune system than others, you might want to limit their time in the daycare center
- If possible, keep your baby away from people who have colds, especially if those people are living with you under one roof.
To this day, there is no known treatment for RSV. Although some doctors may prescribe palivizumab to prevent serious complications, they do not usually give them as a means to treat the condition.
So, instead of relying on the above-mentioned medication, you can do the following instead:
- Use a humidifier to help make your baby breathe easier
- Have your baby take infant acetaminophen
- Use saline drops to help remove sticky nasal fluids
- To prevent dehydration, you may need to introduce small amounts of fluids throughout the day.