RSV, or the respiratory syncytial virus is in full swing. I know, because we had 11 patients with it in our unit this week and several of those required intubation and artificial ventilation.
- While the virus may just cause cold like symptoms in older children, it can be very serious for infants, premature infants, and toddlers. It can also cause more serious complications in children already compromised by immuno-supression from chemotherapy or other treatments.
The symptoms of RSV are: irritability and poor feeding, cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, low oxygen levels and lethargy. Visit http://pediatrics.about.com for a more complete discussion about RSV by their resident pediatrician, Dr. Vincent Iannelli, MD
Call your pediatrician or family physician if you think your child is getting worse or having difficulty breathing. From experience, I know that RSV can be serious so don't hesitate to consult your doctor.
Prevention of course goes back to hand washing and avoiding exposure. Keep your child home if he or she has a fever, runny nose and cough, and other symptoms which may be contagious to others. When your child's fever is gone for 24 hours and he or she is feeling better, remind them about hand washing, covering their mouth when coughing, and using Kleenex for the runny nose or sneeze. The cough may last well past when the child feels better so continued hygiene is important to prevent further spreading of the germs.
Check out the www.About.com site for other helpful health related information or consult with your family doctor.