Some of the most difficult things for a parent is seeing their child sick. One very common disease for babies is the seasonal virus that affect almost 100% of babies by the time they reach their second birthday. It’s called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).
This virus is very common and unfortunately only 25% percent of Hispanic mothers know about it, this means that 75% of Hispanic mothers have never heard about it.
RSV typically leads to a mild respiratory infection (mild to moderate cold-like symptoms) but in some cases the virus can become extremely severe due to the baby’s underdeveloped lungs and immune system. (in preemies).
It is very important that parents learn about RSV and also that since there is no treatment for RSV disease. parents learn about prevention. Some of the ways to prevent your little one form getting the virus is following some basic steps
- Wash your hands often
- Keep toys, clothes and blankets clean.
- Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season.
- Do not smoke or allow second hand smoking around your baby.
- Do not allow early visitors for the baby.
- Unless totally necessary do not take your baby out of the house for the first couple of months.
Learn about RSV
- RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March
- RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year.
- RSV disease is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the ER in children under the age of five
- Premature babies (born before 37 weeks gestation) are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
- Amongst Hispanics, the preterm birth rate has grown six percent over the last decade. Currently one in eight Hispanic babies is born premature and it is likely that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Hispanic communities.
RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. The virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
- Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]