National RSV Awareness Month – October 2016 {#LittleLungs}

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

As a pediatric nurse and a mom to three little girls one of my biggest concerns with the change of season is RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. I have witnessed the effects of RSV firsthand when friends and family’s little ones initially appear to have a simple cold which later turned into life-threatening symptoms requiring lengthy treatment periods in the hospital. This all to common virus infects nearly 100% of babies by the age of two with it’s severity ranging from mild to fatal. It’s essential to know the facts about RSV and share this information with other parents to raise awareness this October.

From November to March, one of the biggest threats to baby is RSV. It is also the leading cause of hospitalization for babies in their first year of life. RSV is specifically a risk for infants because not only is it highly contagious (very easy for a new immune system to become infected), but it also infects the lungs and breathing passages which are still fragile. The symptoms of RSV present themselves like the common cold or flu. If your baby begins to exhibit these symptoms it is important to monitor him/her closely and be in contact with your pediatrician. While RSV may not always lead to severe symptoms, it is necessary to know what to watch for. Listed below are symptoms of severe RSV that should never be ignored:

  • Persistant coughing or wheezing (any cough in an infant is not normal and should be reported to your pediatrician)
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Bluish color around the mouth
  • Fever (especially if over 100.4 rectally in infants under 3 months of age)

It’s also helpful to know the risk factors for RSV. Because premature infants have not received the full amount of infection-figthing antibodies in utero and their lungs are underdeveloped, they are at a higher risk for RSV and twice as likely to be admitted to the hospital for RSV related symptoms.

Prevention is key with any virus but especially RSV. Without any specific treatment or cure for RSV (other than treating the presenting symptoms), it’s important to take precautionary measures to prevent baby from contracting the virus. Some methods to prevent the transmission of RSV are:

  • Hand washing: Wash hands thoroughly before touching baby and ask others to do the same
  • Smoke-free environment: Don’t let anyone smoke in your home or around baby
  • Sanitize: Wash baby’s toys, clothes, and linens often
  • Keep baby away from crowds and young children or anyone with cold/flu/respiratory illness
  • Visit your pediatrician to learn if your baby is at risk for severe RSV disease

Take steps to keep your baby healthy this RSV season and raise awareness this October! Learn more facts about RSV below and by visiting here.

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