Respiratory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is nothing more than a common cold for most kids and adults. But, it can be scary for new parents if their baby gets it because, for babies, it can put them in the hospital, and in some cases, make them fight for their life.
Doctor Patience Ugwi, a Pediatrician at Lawton Community Health Center Eastside Clinic, said it’s RSV season, and she’s seen patients with it.
Dr. Ugwi said most kids get it before they turn two, but for babies six months and younger, kids less than a year old who were born prematurely or those with chronic lung diseases, it can be more severe than just the common cold.
“It can cause bronchitis or pneumonia,” Dr. Ugwi said. “So they are the ones that have more severe infections. They are the ones that are at risk for hospitalization and sometimes admission into the ICU.”
She said there are things parents need to watch out for if their baby is at high risk of getting RSV and gets sick.
“You see nasal flaring, your child looks like it’s struggling to breathe, you see tugging at the base of the neck, tugging between the muscles of the ribs, and barely breathing. They may also start bobbing their heads with each breath,” Dr. Ugwi said.
She said RSV is very contagious, so everybody should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before they touch a baby. She also has tips for parents on how they can try to keep their little ones from getting it.
“Try to protect your baby,” Dr. Ugwi said. “And keep your baby away from people who have colds and away from crowded areas. Sanitize toys because RSV can stay on solid surfaces for up to six hours, so sanitize toys, sanitize surfaces. If you have older children, teach them how to cough into their upper sleeves.”
Doctor Ugwi said it doesn’t have a treatment. She said parents should call their doctor if their baby has a cold and has not had a wet diaper in six hours, if they’re cold and clammy, have blueness around their lips or have pauses in breathing.
If you’re looking for a doctor, Doctor Ugwi is accepting new patients. You can call the Lawton Community Health Center Eastside Clinic at 580-585-5550 to set up an appointment.