According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children under the age of one will have RSV at some point. While the symptoms of the condition are usually minor, they can turn very serious quickly and that means you need to take your child to the ENT if you believe that they do have the condition. As a parent, you need to understand what RSV is and how it is managed.
Just What is RSV?
Actually, many people are surprised to learn that this is nothing more than a form of the common cold. The scientific name for the condition is a respiratory syncytial virus, and it affects the respiratory system specifically. Usually, the condition causes a great deal of congestion in the nose, throat, and airways. Because children don’t know how to clear their throat and infants don’t know how to breathe through their mouth, the condition can cause breathing trouble. Common symptoms of RSV include the following:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Not wanting to play
Can It Be Prevented?
Because RSV is a virus, it can often be avoided. Children should be kept away from anyone, including adults, who have a cold. Never let someone who is a sick kiss, breathe on or cough on your child. Additionally, make sure you properly disinfect your countertops and all surfaces of your child’s nursery.
Some children are more prone to RSV, and they can be given medication to help prevent the infection. The medication only provides prevention measures, not a treatment. As you know, the common cold can’t be actually treated at this time.
Should I Call a Doctor?
Some people ignore the symptoms of RSV because they assume their child just has a cold, and most people don’t realize that the common cold can be dangerous. If you think your child is sick, it is always best to call an ear, nose, and throat doctor for an appointment. No matter what, if your child exhibits the following symptoms, don’t wait to make an appointment:
- High fever that can’t be controlled with over the counter medications.
- Complete lack of appetite.
- Refusal to drink anything. Fewer diaper wettings a day.
- Severe trouble breathing. Blue or grayish skin. Gasping or wheezing.
Any of these symptoms could indicate a more serious complication to the virus and you certainly don’t want to take any chances with your child’s health.
How is RSV Treated?
Usually, if your child is only having minor symptoms, then treatment will simply be methods of managing symptoms like congestion and runny nose. The virus will be allowed to run its course, which will last between one and two weeks. There are some cases, however, when RSV is serious enough to require more extensive treatments. When you visit your ENT, some of the treatments that could be recommended include:
- Fluids through an IV in cases of dehydration
- Oxygen through a mask or tube
- Using suction in the nasal passages to remove mucous
- Use of medications that will dilate the bronchi in the lungs and make breathing easier
In the most serious conditions, RSV may require intubation and the use of a ventilator. However, this is only used in the most extreme situations.
If you have a baby, then there is a good chance you will face RSV. If you take the proper measures, you can keep your little one healthy, but if you think they are becoming ill, then you need to make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor right away.