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RSV Illness in Babies- What You Should Know

Babies need to be kept extra carefully in the initial 2 years of their life as they do not have a strong immune system. Due to this, even the most basic of diseases can affect them severely. But sometimes, there are certain viruses which tend to attack people with a weak immune system more than the people with a strong immune system as there is almost no resistance to them. One of these harmful viruses is the Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV.

What is RSV illness?

RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common and very contagious virus that tends to affect the respiratory tract of the child. Though it can cause nothing more than just a common cold for most of the babies, it can affect some babies more severely and can cause bronchiolitis or even pneumonia.

Who is more at risk?

In the major population till now, this disease has only caused the common cold and eventually the virus is thrown out of the system. But, at an ever-increasing rate, some babies tend to bear its effects a bit more seriously. The chances of RSV getting serious is more for the following-

- Preterm birth babies

- Children younger than 2 who have a heart or a lung condition

- Infants who are 8-10 weeks old

- Infants and young children whose immune system is weakened due to illness or medical treatment.

What are its symptoms?

The symptoms that you will see in the baby are similar to that of a common cold. These symptoms are as follows-

- Coughing and runny nose

- Baby having difficulty breathing

- Irritation and a general lethargy in the baby

- Dehydration and the most common symptom when you have an infection ie., Fever.

What is its treatment?

There is no vaccination as such that can be given to the child to prevent this virus. If the infection is mild then it will probably go off in its own time like the common cold and if it is severe then the child might need to be hospitalized where s/he will have to be given IV fluids and oxygen.

How can you prevent it?

As mentioned above, there are no proper treatments or vaccines available for this and so it becomes more important to prevent RSV in as much as you can. To help you in this, here are some ways you can prevent the illness

- Wash your hands often, especially after contact with anyone who has cold symptoms.

- Beginning at age 6 months, make sure your child gets a flu shot every year in the fall or early winter

- Avoid kissing your baby if you have cold symptoms

- Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby

- Don't share (or let anyone else share) eating or drinking utensils with your child

Keeping your baby disease free should be your top most priority and in order to do that, it is important that you take all the preventive measures and precautions. Do not let your little one’s smile fade because of an illness. 

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