Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RSV and Why We Are Staying Away From Everybody......

 I just wanted to write a little bit about RSV to explain why we are going to hibernate with Eddie for the next few months.  I feel like I already have cabin fever and I might go a little crazy this winter, but we feel like we have to be extra careful with him.  I found some information on the NIH's website for everyone to read.  Michael and I both had preemie nieces before Eddie was born, and we still didn't totally understand what RSV was, so we are just providing some information in case you think we are crazy parents!  Well, we ARE crazy parents regardless, haha, but..... just read it!!!  I highlighted some important points about RSV and preemie babies.  His pediatrician's office just called and his RSV synagis shots are finally here and he is scheduled to receive his 1st shot Monday, the 14th!  Woohoo!  Luckily, our insurance will cover 5 shots, and so he will receive one shot every month through March. Without insurance, the synagis shot costs about $1,500-2,000 per shot, so we are incredibly grateful that we are not paying out of pocket!  I also just want to say, please, please, PLEASE don't be offended if we do not invite you over to see him.  Please, please, PLEASE, do not be mad at us if we ask you to NOT bring your own little ones around him. And please, please, PLEASE do not think we are brushing you off and do not want to hang out with you anymore.... we do, I mean we REALLY do!  We would love to hang out with everyone, show him off, let him crawl around with other babies, drool on each other, etc.  AND believe ME, Michael and I (especially me) would love some more adult interaction!  We just know that this is temporary, and we have to keep him as healthy as possible during this flu season.  Next year, we will be throwing him in the mud......

Love Always,

Katie, Michael, and our little banana!

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

RSV; Palivizumab; Respiratory syncytial virus immune globulin
Last reviewed: January 24, 2011.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially to those in certain high-risk groups.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

RSV is the most common germ that causes lung and airway infections in infants and young children. Most infants have had this infection by age 2. Outbreaks of RSV infections most often begin in the fall and run into the spring.
The infection can occur in people of all ages. The virus spreads through tiny droplets that go into the air when a sick person blows their nose, coughs, or sneezes.
You can catch RSV if:
  • A person with RSV sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose near you
  • You touch, kiss, or shake hands with someone who is infected by the virus
  • You touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contamined by the virus, such as a toy or doorknob.
RSV often spreads very rapidly in crowded households and day care centers. The virus can live for a half an hour or more on hands. The virus can also live for up to 5 hours on countertops and for several hours on used tissues.
The following increase the risk for RSV:
  • Attending day care
  • Being near tobacco smoke
  • Having school-aged brothers or sisters
  • Living in crowded conditions


Symptoms vary and differ with age. They usually appear 4 - 6 days after coming in contact with the virus.
Older children usually have only mild, cold-like symptoms, such as cough, stuffy nose, or low-grade fever.
Infants under age 1 may have more severe symptoms and often have the most trouble breathing.
In general, RSV symptoms include:

Signs and tests

Many hospitals and clinics can rapidly test for RSV using a sample of fluid taken from the nose with a cotton swab.


Antibiotics do not treat RSV.
Mild infections go away without treatment.
Infants and children with a severe RSV infection may be admitted to the hospital . Treatment will include:
  • Oxygen
  • Moist (humidified) air
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
A breathing machine (ventilator) may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

Rarely, RSV infection can cause death in infants. However, this is unlikely if the child is seen by a health care provider in the early stages of the disease .
More severe RSV disease may occur in the following infants:
  • Premature infants
  • Infants with chronic lung disease
  • Infants whose immune system does not work well
  • Infants with certain forms of heart disease


In young children, RSV can cause:
Children who have had RSV bronchiolitis may be more likely to develop asthma.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if breathing difficulties or other symptoms of this disorder appear. Any breathing difficulties in an infant are an emergency. Seek medical attention right away.


A simple way to help prevent RSV infection is to wash your hands often, especially before touching your baby. It is important to make certain that other people, especially caregivers, take steps to avoid giving RSV to your baby.
The following simple steps can help protect your baby from getting sick:
  • Insist that others wash their hands with warm water and soap before touching your baby.
  • Have others avoid contact with the baby if they have a cold or fever. If necessary, have them wear a mask.
  • Be aware that kissing the baby can spread RSV infection.
  • Try to keep young children away from your baby. RSV is very common among young children and easily spreads from child to child.
  • Do not smoke inside your house, car, or anywhere near your baby. Exposure to tobacco smoke increases the risk of RSV illness.
Parents of high-risk young infants should avoid crowds during outbreaks of RSV. Moderate-to-large outbreaks are often reported in the local news and newspapers to provide parents with an opportunity to avoid exposure.
The drug Synagis (palivizumab) is approved for the prevention of RSV disease in children younger than 24 months who are at high risk for serious RSV disease. Ask your doctor if your child should receive this medicine.


  1. Committee on Infectious Diseases. Modified recommendations for use of palivizumab for prevention of respiratory syncytial virus infections. Pediatrics. 2009;124:1694-1701. [PubMed: 19736258]
  2. Respiratory Syncytial Virus. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap158.
  3. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Evidence based clinical practice guideline for medical management of bronchiolitis in infants less than 1 year of age presenting with a first time episode. Cincinnati (OH): Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; 2006 May. 13 p.
  4. Mcintosh K. Respiratory syncytial virus. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 257.

Review Date: 1/24/2011.
Reviewed by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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