While the flu virus is getting all the attention lately, there is another virus that’s putting babies in the hospital and is just as life threatening.
The virus is called RSV and it begins with cold-like symptoms. For some babies the lungs become inflamed and it may be difficult to breathe. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 125,000 children are hospitalized each year with RSV and 500 die from the deadly virus.
Symptoms of RSV
RSV is especially dangerous for babies under 6 months old. Contact your pediatrician if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:
• Labored breathing or fast breathing (faster than 60 breaths per minute when not crying), flaring nostrils, expanding the rib cage more than usual with each breath, wheezing, grunting when breathing
• A cough that’s getting worse
• Difficulty feeding
• Bluish lips or fingernails
The lung disorders known as Bronchiolitis and Pneumonia are two lung disorders that are caused by RSV. These disorders can be dangerous and even deadly for babies under 6 months of age.
Is my child at risk?
Some babies are at a greater risk for RSV than others. If your baby falls into the following categories he or she may be more likely to experience more serious symptoms:
• Premature babies
• Babies born with heart or lung problems or immune system deficiencies
• Babies who are not strong enough to fight off an infection
If you are concerned at all that your child may have RSV you should contact your pediatrician immediately.