RSV: Knowing The Signs & Dangers

Winter time can be prime time for Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV. It starts with familiar cold symptoms and for most of - that's where it ends. But for some infants - the virus can be life threatening. As Serese Cole reports in this month's Health Check - that's why one doctor at the Fremont Area Medical Center wants all of us to be aware of the signs and dangers.

Easton and his ball are both glowing now. But this time last year - the little guy was struggling to breathe.

"There was tons of mucus down in his air ways and he was just too pale - you could tell that something wasn't right, " said Shalamar Nguyn.

Mom was right. Easton had a bad case of RSV and was rushed to the hospital.

"They can go from being fairly well to really crashing and being in trouble in a matter of minutes to an hour," said Kids Care and Fremont Area Medical Center Pediatrician Terry Wooldridge.

Dr. Wooldridge says RSV can lead to pneumonia, bronchiolitis - even death. So it's important parents know and notice the warning signs.

"A child is breathing fast, using stomach muscles to breathe - sounds really rough because all of the congestion," said Wooldridge.

A high fever, severe cough, wheezing and bluish colored skin are also symptoms.

Serese Cole, "And RSV is just like a cold. So if a child , who has been exposed - coughs or sneeze or touches a toy or book - it can spread like wildfire."

"Seems like once you see one or two - pretty soon you've got hundreds," added Wooldridge.

Treatment varies from child to child. Easton was in the hospital for a week. A year later - his mom this message for parents.

"If they have the least bit of worry about their children being sick - just go ahead and bring them in," said Nguyn.

It may have saved her son's life.

Because many children attend daycare or preschool, where germs are easily spread, most kids will be exposed to RSV by the time they're two-years-old.

Premature infants, kids with congential heart disease or chronic illnesses are more at risk for getting it.

If you're wondering the best way to avoid RSV - it all goes back to good hygiene. Dr. Wooldridge recommends wash hands often , wipe down shared surfaces and avoid people that have it.


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