I did not know enough about RSV when pumpkin was born. I kept up with her vaccinations, we did a flu shot and I made sure to watch her closely when she became sick. We knew babies can catch colds easily and out came the wipes to clean her hands everywhere we went. That still didn’t help. Late last year our pumpkin had a series of colds that ended up with a trip to the hospital. For four months, it felt like if pumpkin was in a room with other people she caught a cold. Three of those months, we were in the Pediatrician’s office getting breathing treatments. A week in that time period, we were in the hospital getting tested for RSV. It was pretty traumatizing and I still get incredibly worried when pumpkin gets a cold now.
RSV (respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus) is a virus that attacks the lungs. Most children will catch RSV by the age of 2 this means that anyone with a newborn through toddler should make sure to head to RSVProtection.com to understand the disease and treatment options.
Most babies will recover from the disease in a week or two. But premature babies or those with lung or heart problems can have serious lung infections that can lead to hospitalization.
RSV is seasonal and here you can see what months your area tends to be more affected. Here in California, our season is November through April. Pumpkin had the worst part of her illness in January.
Signs and Symptoms of RSV
- Coughing or wheezing that does not stop.
- Fast or troubled breathing.
- A fever
- A bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
- Gasping for breath
Steps to Prevent RSV
- Wash your hands
- Don’t let anyone smoke in your home.
- Wash your baby’s clothes, toys and bedding often
- Keep your baby away from people with colds, crowds or lots of young children.
Pumpkin was in a hospital monitoring her oxygen levels and her blood pressure for a week. It was most of the week before her levels were stabilized. Over the next eight months we gave her breathing treatments at home with her Nebulizer whenever she started to wheeze. We were told that Pumpkin never tested positive for RSV, but her charts say she did have RSV. Which is confusing. Thankfully, pumpkin has not had any breathing treatment episodes in the past six months.
I remember being terrified every time pumpkin started to get a runny nose. It’s so important to be educated about RSV and be aware on the steps mentioned above in prevention. World Prematurity Day is November 17th so remember that even though you may want to visit that newborn as soon as possible, respect the baby and his/her parents. Make sure you follow the steps to prevent RSV and never visit any age baby if you are feeling even slightly ill.