Doctors are warning parents that babies are especially susceptible to Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. The illness that barely affects adults can be devastating to small infants and is common this time of year (Nov – Apr).
RSV has many cold-like symptoms that parents might not notice at first; a cough, a stuffy nose, a slight fever. All of these things could signal a simple winter cold that many people catch. For adults, RSV can manifest as nothing more than a cold. However, infants who catch the virus are more likely to become critically ill and need medical care.
“Just like in the snap of a finger turns from a little cough to not being able to breath,” says mother, Nicole Larson.
The symptoms of RSV include fever, chills, lack of appetite, and exhaustion. All things that parents can mistake as something else. Currently, there is a shot called Synagis to prevent RSV, but because of it’s cost ($1000/shot), it may be covered under insurance* for babies who were born prematurely or those who are medically fragile and may have required oxygen in the last year.
To help stop the spread of the virus parents are asked to wash hands their often, avoid coughing and sneezing on others, and keep their baby away from those who may have be sick.
“Within your own house other children that are sick bringing things homes from school, just make sure they are washing their hands not kissing the babies face with their runny noses and coughing,” says Riverton Children’s Unit doctor, Nicole Finlinson Langston.
This time of year, RSV is more common and can be spread more easily. Just as with the flu or a cold, parents need to be aware that their infants could become sick and keep an eye out for any signs of illness. Parents who suspect their infant has RSV should seek medical care as soon as possible. – Summer, staff writer
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* Synagis is a monthly shot given to medically fragile babies during RSV season and is not covered by all insurance companies. Check with your doctor and insurance provider for more information.