Children are more prone to respiratory tract infections and irritations. The illness can be caused by various bacteria or viruses. While some are mild infections like the common cold, some are more severe like Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV where the child may be hospitalized. Proper care should be provided to prevent any such type of diseases while gathering information regarding the diseases can help in preventing as well as knowing when to contact the doctor.
RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a virus disease that infects the lungs or the respiratory tracts of an individual. The virus is more common in children under 2 years of age and can affect adults also. It is the most common and contagious disease that is most likely to affect children of small age. More likely, RSV is a common disease that causes the common cold but in some small cases, it might cause serious infections like pneumonia, RSV, and bronchiolitis.
The RSV is a virus that can easily spread through the modes of air. Therefore, it is a contagious disease. It spreads through the air from sneezing or coughing, or can also transfer through direct contact like touching.
A child can contact RSV when it comes in contact with an infected person’s fluid from the nose or mouth through coughing and sneezing. It can also happen when the child touches some contaminated area and takes it in contact with his/her mouth, eyes, or nose. It may also happen when the child inhales some contaminated air droplets.
Most of the children are affected by RSV within 2 years of age. The chances of RSV in babies and toddlers are more common. They can also get infected with this more than once. While the children are most likely to have mild symptoms from this and can get easily cure, in some cases, RSV in newborns can badly affect the health condition leading to some serious damages. The following are more at risk:
RSV symptoms start showing about 2-6 days after the exposure to the virus. In the early phase, young children might develop some symptoms like colds and coughs. While it may affect deeply to the children within 2 years of age. The illness may move to the lungs and cause cough and sneeze which might change to respiratory diseases. The common symptoms of RSV in kids are:
In more severe cases, the symptoms include:
While the children may recover in one or two weeks, if the symptoms are persistent, the child may have to be consulted with the doctor once for the diagnosis.
A doctor might ask for your child’s symptoms and health history to diagnose if the child is suffering from Respiratory Syncytial Virus. They might do some physical examination and check their medical history to know the severity of the diseases. The doctor can also do some tests if the symptoms are severe like:
If the symptom is severe, it is advisable to consult a doctor for the proper diagnosis. When the doctor diagnoses the child, it prescribes the medication and treatment according to the severity of the disease. The treatment may include-
Oxygen is provided to the child through masks or an oxygen tent to help them with breathing.
More fluids are being passed onto the child’s body intravenous (IV) line to keep the body hydrated.
Antiviral medications are being provided to children with severe medical conditions.
Mechanical ventilation is the treatment for RSV in infants where they are kept in a machine to help them with the process of breathing.
If the baby is having trouble eating and sucking the food, liquid food is passed through a thin tube entered into the baby’s stomach through the nose.
They might be given aerosol mist through an inhaler or mask to open the child’s airways.
The treatment should be provided after taking all the precautions and consulting for all the side-effects.
Since RSV is a virus, there are not many treatments to cure it. Although some cough and cold are bacterial infections and can be cured with antibiotics, RSV is not affected by the vaccines and thus proper treatment should be followed to cure it.
You can provide some treatments at home to your child:
Keeping the baby hydrated is the most important thing. Try giving more and more amount of liquid intake to the baby to avoid dehydration in his/her body.
Keeping the child in a mild steaming room or using a cool-mist humidifier can help in clearing the mucus and helping the child to breathe easily by clearing the air passage.
You can also give your child a dose of Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is anon-aspirin that helps in treating mild fever or discomfort. However, it is suggested to consult a doctor before giving the medicine if he/she has not taken the medicine yet.
Making the child as comfortable as possible will put them at ease. Maintaining an upright position will also help.
Use a nasal aspirator or a bulb suction to remove the fluids from the nose of your child so that they will be able to breathe easily.
If any symptoms persist, it is better to contact the doctor for treatment as soon as possible.
There are some steps that can be taken to prevent RSV like:
Contact your doctor and know if the baby is at high risk for catching the infection, and get the baby the monthly shot of medication, palivizumab that helps in protecting the baby from serious complications of RSV.
The doctor should be consulted if the baby is:
If your baby is showing any of these signs, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Since breathing infection can be a mild and bacterial infection, we tend to ignore it sometimes. But it is important to notice every single symptom of the children and their behavior to understand if they are facing any issues on breathing and to know the severity of the issue. Since RSV can range from mild to severe, utmost care should be taken to prevent the child from catching it. If your baby is a premature baby, then more care should be taken as RSV in preemies can be dangerous. RSV like any other disease can be fatal if we ignore it. But it can be defeated with a little more care and little more precautions.
The babies under 1 year of age are to be taken utmost care of. They are most likely to catch the infections easily. Since, the infections, whether mild or severe can be bad for the children. Proper care and nutrition are very essential to maintain their growth as well as keep their immunity strong to fight the diseases. A well-sanitized and clean environment and healthy nutrition can help the baby stay away from these infections and keep them healthy. A healthy child is a happy child.
This post was last modified on February 19, 2021 11:56 pm