When Jude started school last year, he got sick every single week. He was miserable and as a mom, I felt powerless. It’s to be expected when children start school, though, because their little bodies aren’t used to being exposed to so many new germs. The upcoming winter months are the worst for spreading illnesses but the good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent your little ones from getting sick.
If your child goes to school, the first thing you’ll want to make sure of is that they wash their hands as soon as they get home. Make this a routine. While the common cold is usually harmless, some winter illnesses are more serious, for instance the flu and RSV. Today I’m going to tell you more about the latter.
RSV Awareness month
National RSV Awareness Month takes place every October. It’s a time to educate parents about Respiratory Syncytial Virus, before the “RSV season” starts. RSV is a common but highly contagious seasonal virus that affects nearly 100% of infants by the age of two and occurs in epidemics from November through March.
When Jude was still a baby, he got sick with croup and then RSV. Though common, it’s still a very scary experience to see your baby getting so sick.
What are the signs and symptoms of RSV?
It’s sometimes hard to spot Respiratory Syncytial Virus because in many babies, the symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu. However in some babies born prematurely, it can develop into a much more serious infection.
Parents should look out for symptoms of severe RSV. Symptoms include coughing or wheezing that does not stop, fast or troubled breathing, gasping for breath, a bluish color around the mouth or fingernails, unusual lethargy or tiredness, or a fever greater than 100.4 degrees F [rectal] in infants under 3 months of age.
Since there is no current cure available, learning the signs and symptoms of RSV and taking preventative measures is very important. There are several things you can do as a parent to help protect your child’s little lungs from severe RSV. For instance, ask everyone to wash their hands after entering the house and again before interacting with the children. We did that with our family when Charlie and Jude were tiny and people were understanding. Babies are fragile. Additionally, disinfect toys and surfaces to reduce the chance of exposure, and keep your children away from people who may be sick.
If you want more information about RSV and think your child is at higher risk of developing it, ask your pediatrician for advice, and read this informative page here on the Little Lungs Website: http://goic.io/BJOxNk
Additionally, you can take a look at this very useful Infographic: