Children pick up every bug out there from time spent at school, daycare, and just hanging out with their friends. Parents need to be extra diligent during the winter when all manner of colds and the flu are running rampant. This season in particular has already noted a high volume of flu and RSV cases.
The Dangers of RSV
Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is a virus that appears to be a common cold at first. Most children and adults recover from RSV in a matter of weeks, with the exception of infants and the elderly whose immune systems can become compromised much more easily than most. Premature babies are especially susceptible to RSV and if other health issues are present, it can be deadly. RSV can easily develop into pneumonia and bronchitis in younger children.
There has been an increase in emergency visits across the country this year from RSV and the flu. Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, New York, and many other states have all reported increases. Sometimes, these are combined RSV and Flu type-B cases.
How Parents Can Recognize RSV
Since this fall and winter have shown increases in the number of RSV cases across the nation, there is no way to tell if the situation has peaked or if the next few months will be worse. For that reason, parents should be aware of the telltale signs of RSV and know what to do if they recognize them.
Symptoms of RSV include the following:
- High pitched wheezing
- Runny nose
- No appetite and refusal to breastfeed
- Coughing and sneezing
- Caving in of chest between ribs and under ribs
- Lethargy or irritability
- Blue color around the mouth, lips, and fingernails
- Difficulty breathing or apnea
Parents who observe any signs of breathing difficulties or respiratory distress should call Pediatrics of Greater Orlando immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Parents who notice less than 6 wet diapers a day should contact Pediatrics of Greater Orlando right away. This can be a sign of dehydration and low oxygen levels that may require the child to be admitted to the hospital for immediate care.
How to Prevent RSV and the Flu
RSV is spread through infected droplets from the mouth or nose. They can survive 30 minutes on their hands and for several hours on infected surfaces. Therefore, it is important for parents to wash their hands frequently and keep surfaces clean. Be careful not to rub your eyes, especially if you have been around anyone who could be infected.
Contact Pediatrics of Greater Orlando if you have questions about RSV and the flu, or if your child has any of the symptoms mentioned in this article.