Pediatrics PC Winter 2012 Newsletter

January 3, 2013 | No comments | Newsletters


What is RSV and how can I prevent it?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects almost all children at least once before they are 2 years old. Most of the time RSV only causes minor cold-like symptoms. For infants who are extremely preterm (infants born before 32 weeks of pregnancy) or who are born with severe heart disease or severe lung disease, RSV infection can be serious.

Like other common colds, RSV is highly contagious, occurring most often in fall and winter (roughly November
through April). It spreads directly from person to person, or indirectly when someone touches any object infected with the virus, such as toys, countertops, doorknobs, or pens. Children under the age of 2 are most frequently affected by
the very serious symptoms of RSV.

You can help protect your infant and young child from exposure to RSV and other viruses with these steps:

  • Make sure everyone washes their hands before touching your baby.
  • Keep your baby away from anyone who has a cold, fever or runny nose.
  • Keep your baby away from crowded areas like shopping malls.
  • Keep your baby away from tobacco smoke.  Exposure to secondhand tobacco
    smoke increases the risk of and complications from severe respiratory
  • All high-risk infants and their contacts should be immunized against influenza beginning at 6 months of age.

It’s never too early to teach and encourage good hand washing habits in young children. In fact, hand washing is the best defense against infection.

What can I do at home?

Because RSV is a virus rather than a bacterial infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Here are a few guidelines for minor illness:

  • Give plenty of fluids
  • Use a cool mist humidifier during the winter months to keep the air moist. (Be sure to clean the humidifier
  • Blow little noses frequently or use nasal aspirator for infants
  • Give non-aspirin pain reliever, such as Acetaminophen.

When should I call the office?

  • Difficult or fast breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Blue or gray color
  • High fever
  • Worsening cough
  • Any time you have questions or concerns about your child


Information in this newsletter is courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics