As new parents, any time your baby starts to act unusual, you may start to wonder and worry if he or she is getting sick. Sickness can be scary in babies so it is normal to be nervous! One illness that you should understand fully is respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

RSV can affect anyone at any age, but infants and small children are especially vulnerable to significant illness from this virus. RSV and simple colds can both begin with similar symptoms, so it is important to notice any warning signs in your baby that indicate RSV.

Read on to get the facts about RSV from our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team.

Where Does RSV Come From?

RSV is a virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages. When it settles into these soft and sensitive tissues, it can cause inflammation and irritation, which is what causes those mild cold-like symptoms in most adults.

If a baby gets infected with RSV, any resulting symptoms may look very different. Any time a baby experiences inflammation in his or her tiny airway, it can be dangerous or even deadly. If a child is immunocompromised or really little, his or her risk of severe illness is even higher.

Risk Factors for a Severe Case of RSV

  • Premature infants
  • Children under 6 months of age
  • Anyone with neuromuscular disorders
  • Babies with weakened immune systems

When Is RSV Considered a Medical Emergency?

Whenever your baby starts to get sick and experience symptoms of an illness, chances are that he or she will begin to act abnormally or becomes easily irritated. You know your baby best! If you start to notice any signs that your baby is struggling to breathe, seek immediate medical care.

Some signs that your baby is having a hard time breathing include short and rapid breaths, chest retractions, or bluish or gray skin or lips.

How to Protect Your Baby From RSV

  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid kissing your baby on the face if you feel unwell.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby.

RSV should always be taken seriously. If you are concerned about the health of your infant, come visit us right away at AFC Urgent Care Hixson.