RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is an extremely contagious virus that targets the lungs and respiratory system.

Babies born prematurely or those affected by heart conditions, lung issues or immune deficiencies are at an elevated risk for developing bronchitis or pneumonia once contracted.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), Each year in the United States, more than 57,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Additionally, about 177,000 older adults are hospitalized annually with an RSV infection, and about 14,000 of them die from it.

The virus is spread when infected people cough and sneeze.

The tiny drops of fluid that leave the body, land on hard surfaces and live for up to 24 hours. If you come in contact with the infected body fluid through touch and then touch your face, mouth, eyes, etc. you can become infected.

RSV is usually contagious for 3 – 8 days but in some cases, the virus can spread for as long as 4 weeks. The virus is commonly spread through public places such as schools and daycare centers and then transmitted to other family members from there.

The following are the symptoms associated with RSV:

  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Wheezing

If your baby has symptoms related to RSV, you should contact your physician immediately.

Most babies can be treated at home for the virus by:

  • Using a bulb syringe to remove thick sticky mucus
  • A cool mist vaporizer to create moister air for easier for breathing
  • Good hydration
  • Fever reducers

Babies who have more serious cases may require more medical attention which may include hospitalization.

Treatment may include:

  • IV hydration
  • Oxygen
  • Medication

The following steps can be taken in an effort to avoid contracting RSV:

  • Insist that people wash their hands before touching your baby
  • Avoid kissing your baby’s face when experiencing cold symptoms
  • Avoid taking your baby to crowded public places
  • Wash children’s toys and things in your baby’s space regularly
  • Insist that visitors with sick children stay home
  • Keep your baby out of contact with anyone experiencing cold symptoms including siblings and other family members

For additional support, Northeast Doulas is prepared to accommodate your family through the difficulties associated with this illness.