LONG BRANCH, NJ -- RSV, which stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is an easily spread virus most common from fall to spring. While most babies who get RSV just get what seems like a cold, it can cause pneumonia and other lung problems. In severe cases it can sometimes even lead to death.
“Babies born prematurely (at 35 weeks or less) and babies born with heart disease or chronic lung disease are at greater risk for RSV," explains Meg Fisher, MD, chairman of Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center.
Signs of RSV include stuffy/runny nose, sneezing and a fever. Severe RSV can include wheezing, coughing and trouble breathing.
“You might also see difficulty eating, drinking or sleeping,” says Dr. Fisher. “If the baby's skin color is blue or gray or you see any of these other severe symptoms, let your doctor know right away.”
The best protection against RSV is to have everyone wash his or her hands before touching your baby. You can also:
keep people who have colds away from your baby, including siblings
- keep your baby away from crowds
- wash baby's toys and bedding often
- be sure to NOT share pacifiers, bottles, cups, forks, spoons, towels or washcloths
- be sure to NOT smoke around your baby
“A medication called Synagis® is a shot that can be given by your baby’s nurse or doctor to help protect high-risk babies from severe RSV disease,” says Dr. Fisher. “Babies who need Synagis will get monthly shots during RSV season.”
For more information on the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, visit www.barnabashealth.org. For referral to a pediatrician affiliated with Monmouth Medical Center, call 1-888-724-7123.
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