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Respiratory syncytial virus better known as RSV is a virus that causes respiratory infections. By the age of 3, nearly all children will have had RSV. Children between the ages of 1 and 6 months are at the most risk with babies at ages 1 to 3 months of age at the very highest risk of all. There isn’t a treatment or medicine for RSV as it is a virus that leads to other respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. Treatment instead is focused on treating the symptoms of RSV. 

Parents new and old know that babies and children all get sick and frequently. However, there are signs and symptoms that you should look out for that may indicate that your baby has RSV. Signs can include a fever, coughing, a runny nose and wheezing. Wheezing while breathing is usually a big red flag for RSV, especially if it is accompanied by the other symptoms. If your baby is having sever symptoms you may notice difficulty breathing, not able to get enough oxygen, rapid breathing and/or bluish or purplish skin. Most cases do not get this serious and depending on the age of your baby, you most likely will not have to worry about hospitalization. Babies that are hospitalized due to RSV are generally babies under the age of 6 months.

Not all babies are at high risk for severe complications due to RSV though there are some indications that a child may be in the high risk category. Babies born premature or with a low birth weight, a history of asthma, congenital heart disease, attending daycare or even having more than 4 children in one home at a time are all high risk factors. Daycare and multiple children sharing one home is high risk because RSV is highly contagious and most contagious in the first 2 days while not showing any symptoms. If you do have sick siblings at home try to keep them away from baby and wash, wash, wash hands.

At this point in time, there is not a vaccine available to prevent RSV. Prevention of RSV is all dependent on infection control by you and your family. Be sure to cover coughs, sneezes and again wash your hands and encourage your kids to do the same. When someone in your home is sick, pull out those Lysol wipes and extra bottle of hand sanitizer. Use the wipes to sanitize everything your sick child touches that anyone may come in contact with, especially your baby.