Everyone is so excited to see the new baby, but put on your protective armour and figure out a polite way to ask:
“Is everyone healthy? What’s that? Little Johnny has ‘”just” a little runny nose?”
Repeat after me now:
- “We should probably take a raincheck? “
- “You can leave the Lasagna on the doorstep…”
- “We’d love to see you in a couple of weeks, when everyone is healthy!”
You think I’m joking? I am not kidding! A runny nose is one of the first symptoms a toddler with RSV, presents with. You really need to protect your newborn this time of year!
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. In adults, it may only produce symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But in premature babies and kids with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses. RSV is highly contagious and can be spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. It also can live on surfaces (such as countertops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing, so it can be easily spread when a person touches something contaminated.
RSV can spread rapidly through schools and childcare centers. Babies often get it when older kids carry the virus home from school and pass it to them. Almost all kids are infected with RSV at least once by the time they’re 2 years old. RSV infections often occur in epidemics that last from late fall through early spring. Respiratory illness caused by RSV — such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia — usually lasts about a week, but some cases may last several weeks.
Because RSV can be easily spread by touching infected people or surfaces, frequent hand washing is key in preventing its transmission. Try to wash your hands after having any contact with someone who has cold symptoms. And keep your school-age child with a cold away from younger siblings — particularly , a newborn or compromised infant, until the symptoms pass.
Fortunately, most cases of RSV are mild and require no specific treatment from doctors. Antibiotics aren’t used because RSV is a virus and antibiotics are only effective against bacteria. Medication may sometimes be given to help open airways. In an infant, however, an RSV infection can be more serious and may require hospitalization so that the baby can be watched closely. He or she may require fluids and possibly treatment for breathing problems.
RSV information obtained from: www.kidshealth.org
Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC