Parents Strike Back at RSV with Preventative Measures and Treatments

By:  Debby Hoffer

Take Action and Prevent RSV

Take action! Use preventative measures to protect your child from RSV infections. RSV is transmitted person to person through mucosa nasal and cough secretions. This expert advice on preventative measures is taken from several professional medical references.

Keep your child away from any friends or family members that are sick. Small babies are best kept at home during peak RSV seasons and should not be passed from person to person. Grandmas, aunts, and uncles will just have to wait!

Hand washing is also an important measure in preventing RSV infections. Keep an effective antibacterial soap in the kitchen and in all bathrooms for frequent lathering up. Require all family members to wash their hands before meals and before holding the baby. Sick family members should keep to themselves, wash hands frequently and use thick tissues for blowing and coughing. Used tissues should be disposed of promptly and not left lying around. Family members who smoke need to take the habit outside, away from the child.

Preserve Your Sanity

When my son was young, croup and upper respiratory infections were a yearly occurrence. I learned that keeping a clean and orderly home was as essential for my own health as well as my child’s. Help your child stay well and keep your sanity intact by maintaining a clean and orderly home.
Viruses can be transmitted from toys or other exposed objects. Wipe down toys, countertops and other household surfaces regularly with anti-bacterial wipes. Keep bathrooms clean by applying a disinfectant to surfaces at least once a week. Mop floors with a disinfecting solution and wash towels in warm, soapy water. Killing the viruses that are brought into the home will make for a healthy, happy family.

Preventative drugs are also available for at risk children to prevent RSV. To fight off a serious infection, a baby needs an adequate supply of antibodies which accumulate as they develop and are available in rich supply through a mother’s breast milk. A mother’s breast milk is rich in nutrients and germ fighting antibodies, however, a nursing baby can still develop RSV.

Medication for Babies at Risk

For babies who have not developed enough antibodies and are considered “at risk,” a medical specialist may recommend an intramuscular shot rich with antibodies. Antibodies are bacteria fighting proteins that are released by the immune system to fight off foreign objects, such as a virus. An intramuscular shot rich with antibodies can boost a baby’s immune system so that it is able to fight off the RSV without developing any of the serious symptoms. One shot can protect a baby for up to 30 days.
Synagis and RespiGam are medications that can be administered by a medical professional once a month during peak RSV Seasons. (November to May). Both drugs are recommended for at risk babies who have chronic lung disease and challenges from premature birth. Side effects from either drug should be carefully considered and discussed your medical professional.

Treatment for Mild and Severe RSV

Mild RSV will resemble a cold or croup. Parents may give the child plenty of fluids and rest as their body fights off the infection. Parents may treat fevers with infant/child acetaminophen or ibuprophen. Be sure to follow proper dosing instructions for your child’s age and weight. A cool mist humidifier in the child’s room at night will help loosen congestion and provide soothing humidity to irritated nasal passages and lungs. An over the counter decongestant with an expectorant will also assist in loosening chest congestion. If you are dosing a small baby be sure to consult a medical professional for proper dosing instructions. For small babies, be sure to suction out nasal mucus regularly using a bulb syringe.

Treatments vary for severe RSV infections depending on the child’s condition. A medical professional may prescribe a coticosteriod to decrease inflammation in the lower respiratory tract and increase air flow. Breathing treatments administered at home through a home medical device may also be prescribed.

Severe RSV cases that require hospitalization will often require oxygen therapy in an oxygen tent, intravenous fluids and nasal suction. A baby that is not responding positively to initial treatment will most often be admitted to the pediatric ICU (intensive care unit) and put on a breathing machine so that their little bodies can rest and the air passages recover. This is referred to as mechanical ventilation. Parents should always consult a medical professional to determine what the best treatment is for their baby’s condition.

RSV can be a very scary condition. Parents can take control through preventative measures and proper treatments as prescribed by a medical professional. Through your loving help, your baby can survive RSV and develop a natural resiliency to fight off future infections
Additional resources helpful in understanding RSV are:

Symptoms of croup and RSV in children

RSV Infections in Children
Facts about the preventative shot RespiGam.
Facts about the preventative shot Synagis.