The 411 on RSV
DOUGLAS COUNTY – There’s a respiratory illness known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) hitting hard this time of year. Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children is seeing an increase in patients in emergency rooms and the hospital with this illness.
RSV causes the cells that line the airways to slough off and plug the lungs. It’s more difficult to clear airways in small babies, which is why it’s particularly dangerous to infants. Children under the age of two years are hit the hardest. In older children and adults, RSV usually appears as a cold.
If school-aged children have infant siblings in their home, it’s very important to closely monitor symptoms. An infant’s health can rapidly deteriorate due to RSV, so it’s important for parents to watch for symptoms and react quickly.
Symptoms include coughing, rapid breathing, skin turning blue due to lack of oxygen, apnea and poor feeding. Call your doctor if you have any questions. Go to the emergency room or dial 911 if you notice your child’s breathing is labored.
This is a viral infection and cannot be treated with antibiotics. It is treated with supportive care.
RSV is highly contagious. If you have a newborn or infant under the age of two, the best advice is to keep your child at home as much as possible while this virus is in the community. Hand-washing is essential to keeping the virus at bay. There is no immunization for RSV, so again, good hand hygiene is your best defense.
For more information, visit rockymountainhospitalforchildren.com.