Friday, January 18, 2008


RSV. Those three little letters can be very scary for new parents. It's a respiratory virus that kills 1700 babies each year. It's basically a common cold in an older child, but in a baby (especially a newborn) it can be very serious. And guess what? The winter months are the prime season for RSV or Respiratory syncytial virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age. The Illness begins most frequently with:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sometimes wheezing

During their first RSV infection, between 25% and 40% of infants and young children have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5% to 2% require hospitalization.

Most children recover from the illness in 8 to 15 days. The majority of children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6 months of age.

And a little known fact you probably haven't heard? RSV can effect a child their entire life! It causes repeated infections throughout life, usually associated with moderate-to-severe cold-like symptoms; however, severe lower respiratory tract disease may occur at any age, especially among the elderly or among those with compromised cardiac, pulmonary, or immune systems.

When I read these facts about RSV each year, I tend to be more prudent about getting my kids to wash their hands. Besides avoiding being around sick people, which is impossible when kids are in school, washing hands is your best defense.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


precinct committeeman said...

My wife works at The NICU at OSF and knows quite well the hazards of RSV. We have sheep on our farm and losk 3 sheep to RSV from an exposure at the State fair a few uears ago. Very bad situation.

Mike said...

Precint committeeman,
Wow! I had no idea sheep could get RSV. That is very interesting!
I am trying to spread the word about to the local hospitals. Maybe your wife could help? I am working on a couple pregnancy stories right now.

Diane Vespa said...

Jen, our son was born 2 months premature and was released from the NICU in the height of RSV season. His neo-natologist told us that anyone who came in to our home had to wash their hands, and no one with a cold could even come in to our house. Needless to say, we pretty much didn't even take him out of the house until Spring, after the threat of RSV had passed. He also got the RSV immunizations which cost about $6,000 out of pocket. It was a very scary time... but luckily he is perfect now ;)

Shannon Sandoval said...

Two years ago our whole family went to the Philippines and my then 6-month old niece got very, very sick. They never did diagnose what it was (despite having the care of several doctors and a pediatrician, all in the family...) and our then 1-year old son got very sick on the trip home.

After a scary visit to our pediatrician that included a breathing treatment and my refusal to take him in for a spinal tap until we had ruled out everything else, (keep in mind we had just literally traveled halfway around the world), a quick nose swab showed a positive result for RSV. He was in the worst part of it and recovered quickly at home. We were lucky.

I learned a few things: First, it was an interesting insight into the state of healthcare in the Philippines that such a simple diagnosis was never made there. Secondly, I learned to stand up for my children and follow my gut instincts. And of course, we learned firsthand how horrible RSV can be.

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