Respiratory syncytial virus is a most common infection of lungs and respiratory tract in premature infants, infants below 6 months age, infants born with heart and lung conditions, children up to 2 years of age, adults above 65 years of age and adults with congestive heart failure. It is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Mostly, people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
RSV symptoms are quite similar to that of cold but you as parents have to be extra careful with what is what. The symptoms can be misleading, you can get confused by the symptoms and think that it is just common cold when it might be much more than that which can later turn out to be pretty harmful if not taken care of at right time.
Below are some of the things you as parents should know, follow and take care of in order to keep your children safe:
- RSV infection is caused by the virus. The virus targets the respiratory tract; it enters the lungs through throat and nose causing damage to the lower respiratory tract. So make sure to keep your children away from people who are suffering from cold, cough or even RSV because all these infections are transmissible.
- Most of the kids are infected with RSV at least once before they’re 2 years of age old. For healthy children it usually results in a cold, but some children can get really sick which may result in developing bronchiolitis, asthma or pneumonia. Children can get infected with RSV during anytime of the year but during the winter months they are at high risk.
- You need to make sure the surroundings of your children are in proper hygiene. You need to keep your children away from sick people, avoid touching your children’s face unnecessarily, try to disinfect the surroundings every 3 hours, avoiding close contact with sick people,cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and make sure to wash your hands often.
- Children suffering from RSV need to be properly hydrated. Children of this age cannot ask for water by themselves so you need to make sure to provide fluids in small amounts throughout the day because if you do not provide enough fluid then you might need IV fluids later.
- Children can be suffering from shortness of breath so make sure to keep the air moist using a mist vaporizer which helps the baby to breathe properly.
- Though, there is no cure for RSV and no vaccine is available for the same as of now but it is totally preventable if we follow some of the necessary steps which are also mentioned above. Breastfeeding your baby can also help protect your baby against RSV and also fight off illnesses, so it would be better if you breastfeed your baby.
- Immunizations are also of great help. So make sure your child receives all the vaccines recommended by the doctor. Though, immunizations might not prevent your child from getting a specific illness but it sure does decrease the severity of it.
- If your child is suffering from fever you can give them acetaminophen, but it is always recommended to get your child checked by the physician if fever does not come down. You can also use lukewarm water towels to bring the temperature down. Do not use ice cold water or hot water for the same.
- You should immediately go and see the doctor if your baby is dehydrated, have shortness of breath or rapid breathing, high fever, skin turning blue (especially lips and fingernails) and if the nature of your child is unresponsiveness.
- Keep a note of the behavioral change in our children. Check on them and try and figure out why they are uneasy. One important thing you should not forget is to check whether they have an ear infection or not, because if they do you should immediately rush to the doctor.
The most important thing among all the things mentioned above is to enforce hand hygiene. It does not only help in maintaining hygiene but also helpsyou in keeping a lot of infections at bay.