As a mom and grandmother, this winter has been pretty scary for me. With all the news of the flu epidemic and so much other sickness, I tried as much as I could to prepare my family so we would not get sick. I was especially worried about the two youngest, Anthony who is 20 months old and Julius who is only 3 months old. Being so young, they were especially susceptible to RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). But even with as many preventative methods as we had in place, both of the boys still managed to catch this virus that is very serious and can even lead to death.
While neither one of the boys goes to school or daycare. The older children do and this is where I believe the virus first came into the house. No matter how much I try to get them to wash those little hands the minute they walk in, there are many times that the kids just don't do it. It started with Anthony getting sick, then we all caught it, and now almost a month later when Julius came to see us for a few days, he caught the virus and had to be rushed to the ER a few nights ago.
The only thing I am thankful for is that Julius was not a premature baby and hopefully will be strong enough to fight this virus. I am also relieved that his mom and dad recognized warning signs and took him to the hospital.
Symptoms of RSV:
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop
- Fast or troubled breathing
- Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
It is estimated that 82% of U.S. children aged six weeks to six years old, spend some amount of time in child care. Even if it's only an hour, the risks are higher and children are now exposed to contagious germs and viruses. There is no treatment for RSV, so it’s important for parents to take preventive steps to help protect their children. Certain children are more susceptible to the virus, so it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and find out if your child is in danger too.
Prevention is key:
- wash everyone's hands often with soap and warm water
- wash toys and bedding frequently
- avoid crowds and cigarette smoke
- keep sick children home
- disinfect all high traffic surfaces often
As parents it is important that we inform ourselves about illnesses like RSV. Sometimes you think your kids are safe, like Julius who lives in a house with no other children, but just a few days here are around ours and he got sick. It is so scary...and that is why prevention is key. Get informed by visiting the RSV protection website.