Wiggly little bundle, cuddled in cozy muslin wrap. Just a few days old, his sleepy tiny eyes peek out to say hello.
A good friend of ours had a baby last winter and we were so excited to welcome the adorable little bundle to the world! We packed up our basket of goodies, the care package for mom and baby overflowing with all the healthy essentials.
Everyone and everything was ready to go, then we received a text...we weren't welcome. Our friends were looking forward to our visit to finally meet their long-awaited little bundle - but the hospital was not.
This was the first time I discovered a virus called RSV, short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Because of an RSV outbreak, visitor hours were drastically reduced and child visitors were not allowed. What in the world was RSV, and why was it keeping our healthy kids from meeting their tiny new friend?
In the end we were able to fit a short visit into the strict visiting hours, but without the kids. While we were there I took the opportunity to learn a bit about RSV from one of the nurses on duty. She explained to me that RSV is a very common virus, with symptoms like a really bad cold. But, since little babies have such tiny nasal passages and lungs the illness hits them extra hard.
RSV is the leading cause for hospitalization for U.S. babies in their first year, and October is National RSV Awareness Month. Nearly all kids get it by the age of two, and preterm babies are particularly at risk for hospitalization with it.
How to know if your little one might have a case of severe RSV? Look out for:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Fast or troubled breathing
- Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
- Fever, especially over 100.4 (rectal) in infants under 3 months
The hospital had restricted their visiting times, to protect the babies from exposure to RSV from the outside. And they had restricted children's visits because of a mutual risk - kids can bring the virus in and take it out - so any unnecessary exposure was cut out.
Other ways to reduce the chances of a severe case of RSV:
- Wash your hands often, and remind people in your household to do the same...especially kids
- Wash or sanitize your childrens' belongings, like toys, blankets, sheets regularly
- Visit your child's pediatrician to learn if your child is at a higher risk for RSV
So in the end, I'm glad that the hospital was helping us to be responsible visitors. The last thing we would have wanted would be to inadvertently bring RSV into the room and baby's tiny little lungs. Baby is doing amazingly, growing so quickly, and has had plenty of other chances to play with his little buddies...RSV free!
Here are some insightful facts and tips about RSV awareness so that you can learn more: