If you have a young child or are expecting one, you may be concerned about the risk of contracting RSV and other viruses. Unfortunately, little ones aren’t immune to catching RSV this season. It can be particularly dangerous for babies and children who cannot fight off an infection as easily as adults can.
But, adults can also get it, too, especially if they’re immunocompromised! With the recent outbreak of RSV and children’s hospitals filling up with cases, AFC Urgent Care New Bedford has created a guide on how to protect your child against RSV.
What is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes inflammation and infections in the lungs. RSV is common among infants, children, and even adults, especially during cold and flu season.
Symptoms of RSV infection include:
Wheezing (especially in infants)
Difficulty breathing (more severe cases)
Complications from the infection are most common in infants and young children. Among infants, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs).
Is There A Test For RSV?
***At this time, we do not offer testing for RSV
But, should you need a diagnosis, please consult with your primary care. Usually tests to diagnose RSV include a chest X-ray, collection of a sample of the pus in the lungs and a sample from the nose to identify the virus. Diagnosing RSV requires a physical examination and taking the patient’s medical history. Laboratory tests for diagnosis aren’t routinely done for RSV, but can be helpful in some cases. A doctor will take an infant or child’s medical history, perform a physical exam and may order tests, like an X-ray. In some cases, doctors may order a throat swab, sputum (mucus from the lungs) test, or nasal swab to confirm a diagnosis.
How to prevent RSV in infants and children
RSV is spread through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes nearby. RSV can also be found on clothing, bedding, and other surfaces that come into direct contact with these fluids. With that being said, cleaning and washing your hands is going to be on the top of the list for how to prevent RSV.
Next, would be avoiding gatherings or places where you or your child would most likely get sick. We get it. The holidays are approaching and there is a gathering every weekend. But, you need to think about others, too. It’s not just about you, but protecting your relatives, your friends and others. It’s okay to say no because you have the sniffles or a really bad cough.
How to treat your infant or child with RSV at-home
This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a start on potential ways to alleviate symptoms:
Keep your infant hydrated - Make sure your infant is drinking plenty of fluids, including water and breast milk or formula if they are breastfeeding.
Take OTC medication to lessen the severity of symptoms - Also stock up on inhalers!
Use nasal saline - A saline nasal spray can help clear excess mucus from your infant’s nose, which will help them breathe easier.
Humidify the room - If the weather permits, open windows and doors to let in the fresh air. If you live in a colder climate, you can use a humidifier to help ease congestion.
AFC Urgent Care Hopes You Stay Healthy This Season!
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for sickness, especially during the winter months when everyone is exposed to more germs. AFC Urgent Care New Bedford is here for you 7 days a week. We offer appointments and walk-in services for ALL ages.
AFC in New Bedford also offers the quadrivalent flu shot and flu shot for seniors. We also offer COVID testing. Stop by anytime and we’ll check your vitals!