RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus — a common and highly contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract of most children before the age of 2. For some, the virus simply causes a cold. But for others, a RSV infection can lead to serious problems such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and it can become life-threatening.
RSV is spread easily by touching people or surfaces that are infected with the virus. It usually produces cold-like symptoms, including cough and runny nose, but it can become serious. After almost losing his baby girl, a father in Memphis, Tennessee recently took to the photo-sharing site imgur to share the disturbing experience that he faced, and to warn others about the dangers of RSV.
The baby’s father, who goes by “andnowforsomethingcompletelydifferent” on the social media site, shared a photo of his baby who contracted the highly contagious RSV virus while she was at the hospital. “We almost lost her last Monday,” he wrote. “Our local hospital told us if she got any worse there was nothing more they could do for her.”
The worried dad detailed how he watched his baby girl lay in the hospital, suffering from RSV, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and a partially collapsed right lung. He also wrote about the excruciating moment that he almost lost her. “As soon as the pediatric team arrived at the hospital to pick her up, she flatlined,” he wrote. “They revived her and put her on a ventilator immediately.”
“RSV is no joke,” he went on to say.
“I didn’t know much about it until a week ago when it almost took my daughter from me. Please make sure to wash your hands before handling little ones. And make sure to wrap them up when heading outside into the cold.”
Dad’s little fighter pulled through. He posted a picture of his little girl and wrote, “Needless to say, it’s been a rough week for my little one. But now I can gladly say that she is doing much better. She has beaten so many odds this past week and made me even more proud to call her my daughter.”
The risk of a severe RSV infection is greatest for premature infants, children younger than 2 who were born with heart or lung disease, babies and children whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment, and children under 8-10 weeks of life.
Call a health care professional if you notice these symptoms in your little one:
- Difficulty breathing
- High fever
- Thick discharge from the nose
- Cough producing yellow, green or gray mucus
- Unusual irritability or activity
- Refusal to breastfeed or bottle-feed
- Signs of dehydration, including lack of tears when crying, little or no urine in the diaper for six hours, or cool, dry skin
Taking precautions to prevent RSV is important to keeping your child safe. Remember:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after contact with anyone with cold symptoms
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces
- Do not allow people to touch your baby without first washing their hands
- Avoid kissing your baby if you have cold symptoms
- Keep your baby away from crowds
- Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby
- Limit the time that high-risk babies stay in day care, particularly from late fall to early spring when RSV and other respiratory infections are most prevalent
- Keep your baby away from anyone that has cold symptoms
Watch the video below to learn more about keeping your child safe from RSV:
And when your baby is ready, check out this video on healthy first foods to keep your baby WELL!