Telluride Med Center: RSV in Children, What Parents Should Know!

Telluride Med Center: RSV in Children, What Parents Should Know!

If you or your child needs medical care this season, contact the Telluride Medical Center by calling (970) 728-3848 or sending a message through the patient portal. In the event of a life threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1.

The following is note from Drs. Sharon Grundy and Diana Koelliker regarding the rise of RSV cases in children.

Go here for more on the Telluride Med Center.

Pediatric hospitals and emergency rooms across the country are seeing a dramatic spike in child hospitalizations due to a common respiratory virus known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

RSV is a common virus and one most children will get by the time they reach the age of two. While in most cases RSV infection causes only mild, cold-like symptoms, in others the illness can be serious. RSV can cause pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs, or bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways in the lung. RSV is the most common cause for pneumonia and bronchiolitis in infants in the United States.

According to the CDC, an estimated 58,000-80,000 children under 5 years old are hospitalized every year due to RSV infection. In adults, RSV generally appears with mild, cold-like symptoms that typically resolve within one to two weeks. Some adults may not even experience any symptoms.

What to know: RSV in infants and young children

Children most at risk for severe illness from RSV include:

• Infants, especially premature infants and infants younger than 6 months old
• Children younger than 2 years old with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease
• Children with weakened immune systems
• Children who have neuromuscular disorders, including those who have difficulty swallowing or clearing mucus secretions

Protecting your child and family from RSV

As RSV season ramps up this year, it’s important to take preventive measures. If you have contact with an infant or young child, especially if they were born prematurely or are an increased risk, take extra care to keep them healthy:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Keep your hands off your face and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Don’t share cups or eating utensils with people who have cold-like symptoms.
• Stay home when you are feeling sick to help protect others from catching your illness. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands more frequently. When you cough or sneeze, droplets containing germs can land on surfaces, objects, and even other people.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch, such as toys, doorknobs, and mobile devices. When someone infected with  RSV touches a surface or object, they can leave behind germs that can cause others to become sick.

Symptoms of RSV

Symptoms of RSV can range from mild to life-threatening, and can become more severe over the course of a few days. In young infants, RSV infection almost always shows symptoms.

Some early symptoms to watch for include:

• Runny nose
• Decrease in appetite
• Cough, which may progress to wheezing or difficulty in breathing

In infants less than 6 months old, symptoms of RSV infection may include

• Irritability
• Decreased activity
• Decreased appetite
• Pauses in breathing lasting more than 10 seconds

It’s important to note that fever may not always occur with RSV infections in this age group. With severe RSV, infants will have short, shallow, rapid breathing. If an infant is not getting enough oxygen, their mouth, lips and fingernails may turn blue.

When to seek medical care for your child

In most cases, RSV infections resolve on their own within two weeks. In these cases, children can rest and recover at home.

However, you should contact your doctor if your child:

• Has poor appetite or decreased activity level
• Has cold symptoms that become severe
• Has a persistent cough that continues day and night

When to seek emergency care

Seek emergency care if your child has trouble breathing, has a high fever, or has a fever that doesn’t come down after 12 or 24 hours. Dehydration can also be very dangerous, particularly for infants and small children. Seek medical help if you notice your infant has a sunken soft spot on their head or if your child has sunken eyes, a dry mouth and tongue, or skin that doesn’t bounce back when pinched. Sleepiness, extreme irritability and a decrease in urination or wet diapers are other signs of dehydration.

Out of every 100 children younger than 6 months old with RSV, one to two may need to be hospitalized. Treatments available to help in severe cases of RSV include oxygen, IV (intravenous) fluids, and intubation with a breathing tube. With this type of supportive care, most RSV infections improve, and children are usually discharged from the hospital within a few days.

How to treat RSV

If your child is diagnosed with RSV, we recommend the following:

• Treat the fever with Acetaminophen in all ages and Ibuprofen in kids over 6 months of age. Alternating the two medications every 4 hours can help if fever is present.
• Use saline nasal drops and suction (like the Nose Frida) to help control copious secretions that typically accompany RSV.
• Encourage additional fluids like Pedialyte to help maintain a good level of hydration, particularly if they are running a fever.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.