The fact that October is RSV awareness month brings back scary memories in our family.
In February of 2010 my sons were both sick with what we thought were colds. One of my sons was worse than the other. The new symptom he had that I had never seen before was fast breathing. Talk about scary. I started using Dr. Google and thought, “oh no, is this a symptom of RSV”?
RSV can be deadly in small children. Did you know it affects nearly 100% of infants by age two? RSV season is from November through March and October is National RSV Awareness Month to help spread the word about how to prevent this disease. The Little Lungs website is a good source of information about RSV. RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus which is a common, highly contagious and seasonal virus.
I immediately called our doctor. The nurse on the line asked me to count the number of breaths he was taking. RSV can inhibit babies from breathing so I would have thought the higher the number of breaths per minute would be good but it was the exact opposite. Because he was breathing faster meant he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. His number of breaths per minute was too high so we had to take him to the ER.
Signs of RSV disease
- Coughing or wheezing that doesn’t stop
- Fast or troubled breathing
- gasping for breath
- bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- unusual lethargy or tiredness
They admitted him and we were put into an isolation room for highly contagious diseases. Another wake up call for how serious this illness can be. You had to walk into the first door and scrub in before you could go into the second door into the room. And anyone going in and out had to scrub in on their way in and scrub again on their way out. Luckily the doctors were able to administer steroid treatments and over the next 24 hours we were able to get my son’s oxygen levels to a better level.
After all of this you can bet I racked my brains thinking how did we catch RSV? I am pretty sure we caught it at our local children’s museum. We had been 3 days earlier and although they have plenty of hand sanitizer I don’t think I was vigilant enough in having my boys use it. In February in a crowded play area with lots of kids, it was the perfect scenario to catch RSV.
How to prevent RSV.
- Have everyone wash their hands when entering your home
- Wash toys and surfaces often
- Keep children away from people who are sick
- Keep young children away from crowds
- Ask your doctor if your child has a high risk for RSV disease
I am glad we were able to catch it quickly and get him to the hospital for treatment. Awareness of this disease is important because while the first symptoms look like a common cold it can quickly escalate into severe illness.
If you have any questions about RSV please talk to your pediatrician or go to Little Lungs for more information.
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