The Flu has been brutal this year. I really don’t remember anything like this, most people I know have been sick for what seems like a month with it. Since mid to late November it seems every other Facebook status on my news feed was about people being so sick. Right before Thanksgiving I came down with what I think was the flu, I was not bedridden but it took my voice completely away for about 5-7 days and gave me that hacking your lungs up cough. I work from home so I was able to keep my normal routine thankful I did not have to leave my home, but was sick for about 2 weeks which is highly unusual for me. I felt better and went to the doctor for my physical the few days I was feeling semi normal again. My doctor said she said she could still see some pharyngitis and prescribed an antibiotic which cleared up my throat and ears but days later my kids and husband were sick again and so was I. What I found out is that this strain of flu mutates and so people get well and then quickly become sick again with a mutated form. So sick again for another 2 weeks of the same and then believe it or not I went to the doctor and they gave me a flu shot after all that.
Anyway with all this gunk going around I think it is wise we talk about RSV. Do you know what RSV is? RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus which is a seasonal virus that is prevalent from November through March, is highly contagious and affects 2/3rds of children by one year of age and nearly 100% of kids by 2 years of age. RSV can live on surfaces like counter tops, bedding, doorknobs, toys and more for several hours and is spread easily through touching, kissing and hugging. Children in daycare are at very high risk of contracting RSV due to all the sharing of toys, high chairs, eating and sleeping in close quarters.
RSV causes mild to moderate cold like symptoms in most children that will run the course without causing parents to be alarmed. However in premature infants, contracting RSV can be extremely serious. Once contracted there is no treatment for RSV so prevention is key. RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization and responsible for up to 125,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths each year. Parents of babies who are high risk for RSV should consider other options than day care like in home care or a nanny where they will not be exposed to risk factors prevalent in a day care situation. Care should be taken to keep things clean and sanitary and frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of any illness including RSV. For more information on RSV, you can click HERE for an informative fact sheet.
I remember when Luke was born, even though he was full term and just shy of 8lbs he lost a lot of weight and at 5 days when he was admitted to pediatrics for his jaundice, he was only a bit over 5 lbs and at high risk for RSV since it was the very end of December. I was a wreck having him there but we had no choice because his levels were so high the pediatrician would not let us treat at home. I was a maniac making sure everyone knew we had a tiny newborn and for all the nurses and hospital staff to wash their hands before touching anything in the room. My husband or myself were always present and chose to take care of nearly every task regarding our baby rather than having nurses or staff tend to him. Thankfully, we got our little guy home safe and healthy but it was scary thinking of the danger. I believe there were a couple of children that were on the ward with RSV which freaked me out.
Since prevention is the best course of action, it is imperative to follow good hygienic practices and wash hands thoroughly, clean toys and surfaces to keep germs to a minimum and limit visitors and of course do not let anyone will cold like symptoms around premature or newborn babies. To learn more please visit RSVProtection.com. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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