Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): Can you spot it?
Hi, Moms! NuMama here from NuAngel, Inc. Sickness season is upon us and I hope your family is faring well.
When our children are little, it seems like they are constantly sick and every public outing is a risky endeavor. Of course, some illness is unavoidable and their little immune systems must build up. However, sometimes it's hard to spot the difference between a little cold and something more serious.
We all know about the flu, but how much do you know about RSV? RSV is a very common respiratory virus which usually presents like a mild cold to most people, but can be very dangerous to infants and young children, the elderly, and other adults with chronic respiratory conditions. According to the CDC, "almost all children will be infected with RSV by the second birthday." Symptoms of RSV include: coughing, wheezing, fever, runny nose, and a decrease in appetite.
RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, was a new term to me a few years ago as a new mom. My first daughter- at 15 months old- was very sick with wheezing, coughing, chest congestion, and fever. She was sick for weeks, we administered breathing treatments twice a day, and she continued to have chest congestion for months. We were acquainted with RSV very well that year. However, sometimes it's not as easy to spot.
Several weeks ago, I began to notice changes in my 13-month-old. She was more irritable, clingy, and refusing solids. At first, I thought she was just teething. Then, she began unlatching frequently while nursing, and I could feel a little "rattle" in her lungs while my hand was on her back. That's when the red flag went up: I needed to get her checked for RSV right away. Why so urgently? First, RSV can worsen quickly for infants. Secondly, we have another young child in our home and I fall in the chronic respiratory condition category. It was important for all of us just to know if RSV was in our home.
I made an appointment and got in to see our doctor the same day. My daughter only had a low-grade temp and her lungs sounded relatively clear, with just a little chest congestion. At first, our pediatrician thought it was just a little cold, but gave me the option to get her swabbed for RSV. Sure enough, the test came back positive! She either had a very mild case of RSV, or the virus was about to get much worse. Luckily, she just had a very mild case; however, I can still feel some chest congestion weeks later.
RSV was easy to spot in my first daughter, but not in my second. Even our wonderful Pediatrician didn't recognize it right away! That's why RSV can be tricky as well as dangerous. It's also highly contagious! If you suspect that you child may have RSV, please take your child to be tested by your pediatrician. The test is a simple swab and results come back quickly.
Want to learn more? I found this article, "RSV: When It's More Than Just a Cold" by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be extremely helpful as a mom a few weeks ago!
RSV: When It's More Than Just a Cold
The CDC also has wonderful, straight-forward information here:
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV)
Protect Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus
People at High Risk for RSV Infection
Moms, have your little ones had experiences with RSV? Leave your stories in the comments below!