RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a virus that leads to respiratory infections every fall but this year there has been a surge. While not entirely sure as to why RSV infections are on the rise it is believed that it is occurring due to the broad lifting of restrictions. But furthermore there have been kids born during the pandemic who have not had exposure to common viruses that they would normally be exposed to due to the restrictions that were in place. We were one of those parents and when Atlas caught it we were super worried for him. He was very mucousy with labored breathing and he had episodes of high fevers. Overall we were able to reduce his symptoms using some of the techniques I discuss at the end of the blog.
Normally RSV infections have mild symptoms that are similar to the common cold in the majority of patients but in young children and older adults it can sometimes present itself with more severe symptoms such as Bronchitis and Pneumonia. This occurs because there is a lot of mucus production and in young children in particular they do not have the ability to clear the mucus from the bodies the way adults do which can result in more complications. As an adult we can cough or sneeze out the mucus but as children we may not have the ability to cough or sneeze hard enough to clear it.
Some things you can do to help keep kids safe and healthy:
- Frequent Hand Washing
- Keep Kids Hydrated
- Keep hands away from face
- Frequent disinfecting surfaces
If your child does develop RSV you have to try your best to help manage their mucus production. In our case we would give warm steam baths, run a humidifier as well as use salinex drops to help fight off the mucus production. For his high fever we had to use a combination of Tylenol as well as Advil and gave him lukewarm baths to bring his temperature down. That worked for us and with hard work and some luck we were able to manage his temperature and excess mucus.
While these are behaviors that you are probably used to from the pandemic you should also make sure that you also keep young children away from adults who may have recently been sick. For the adult it might be just a case of a minor cold while for the child it could be something more serious such as RSV. An example of this is while my son and wife were really sick over the last two weeks while it barely affected me. It felt like a cold to me and not even a bad cold at that. It just lasted a few days and peaked with some mild nasal congestion and was gone. I wish I could have said otherwise in regards to the rest of my family but they definitely felt the full force of what RSV had to offer! They had all the symptoms from high fever, shaking, coughing and lots of mucus.
If you are not able to manage the excess mucus that is when your child can run into issues with labored breathing and in this case it is always a good idea to take them in to get checked out whether it is their pediatrician or at the Stollery. And of course it is not a bad idea to get vaccinated against the Flu as well as get Covid booster if they are eligible.