RSV: What is it anyway?!
Respiratory season is in full swing with flu and RSV(respiratory syncytial virus) among the most popular culprits making our sweet babies sick. Beginning around October and lasting through March and sometimes April, many babies, and children have the potential to develop RSV.
As you are reading this, I can imagine you asking yourself, "What exactly is RSV?," and "What does this mean for me and my baby?!" Well, RSV is like having a cold for an adult. But, instead of having fully grown lungs like us, babies under one year old have smaller airways, making this virus something that can become very serious in a short period of time. That is, many of the very small tubes in their lungs that help them take each breath become inflamed, and fill with mucus making it harder to inhale and exhale. A loud seal-like cough with wheezing, sneezing and runny nose with difficulty breathing may also occur; other symptoms may also be present. In most instances, RSV does not become serious, however, ends up very draining to you and your baby due to the discomfort of fever, sore throats, and headaches. Not all babies will experience all symptoms and not all will be affected with the same severity. If your baby was born prematurely and/or has a history of respiratory difficulties, you will want to make sure you are in communication with your pediatrician and are aware of a prescription available called Synagis used to help prevent RSV. These babies are highly at risk for developing a more severe case of RSV. Depending on your child's medical history and the availability of Synagis, this medication may or may not be an option for prevention.
Just like with the flu, hand washing is of extreme importance. Seriously, you can't do it enough. And although keeping our little ones in a bubble is an ideal for us, it's obviously not realistic...(insert sad face and sigh here). Instead, be aware that the spread of this virus happens via droplets and contact. So, what this means is that the very tiny particles from the mouth and nose of an adult with a cold or another child with RSV can be touched or inhaled by your baby and can lead to a diagnosis of RSV. Many surfaces can hold on to this virus. Take note of who is sick and consider the age and wellness of your child and your surrounding environment when having others in your baby's presence. And as for yourself, the same rule applies. The person or people in your workplace that may be sick can very well pass their cold to you, and then from you onto your family
Treatment for RSV is ultimately supportive as there are no medications for getting rid of it. So, instead of getting antibiotics which are used to treat bacteria, products like Tylenol for fever and discomfort, and suctioning of the nose since infants can't blow their noses, are ways to help 'support' your baby through RSV. It is important to always contact/visit your pediatrician when you notice the above symptoms to evaluate whether your baby actually has been infected by this virus and for direction on caring for them. The information provided here is not a substitute for seeing your doctor and is only a guide for understanding the basics of the virus.
So now that you have new knowledge on the subject, let's talk a little about my favorite products during the respiratory season! None of my favorites are paid reviews and are based only on my experience with my own children.
Nurse Jacque's Favorite Things
For wiping those runny noses, I absolutely LOVE and highly recommend Boogie Wipes. Made using saline, these wipes make it very easy to clean a nose that has wet and/or dried mucus. There is no need to scrub or work hard to clean and the nose is left nice and moisturized so that chaffing, drying, and discomfort don't occur. The worst part of having a runny nose, and I am sure you will agree, is the constant wiping that leads to a red and painful, peeling nose. This product is far from using a regular Kleenex and the soothing effects has my almost 2 year old daughter constantly pretending to have a runny nose so that mommy will wipe it for her. They come in grape, fresh scent, and unscented with grape being our favorite. The price is very affordable at $4 for a pack of 30 and a $9.50 for 90! This is always on my purchase list year round for everyday use and especially during the allergy and respiratory seasons! Check these out along with many other products they make at Target, Baby's R Us, and H-E-B.
When our babies noses are just too full of mucus to keep up with using the Boogie Wipes, we absolutely trust the Nose Frida. With a 4 part system that allows you to apply the amount of suction to the nose, this product is excellent for unclogging the snottiest of noses (wink, wink). When you see it originally, you may not want to use it because it one end goes directly into your mouth and the other to your baby's nostril. However, there is filter that keeps the boogies from landing in your mouth...I know, I know...but seriously! You have to try this. It's easy to use and babies are not bothered at all by it. The greatest part is that you can wash it and use it over and over as long as you replace the filters. At around $16 what do you have to lose? So far, I have found this product at the same locations as the Boogie Wipes.
Honest Company Hand Sanitizer
Keeping your hands clean is a super TOP PRIORITY when dealing with your baby and well...ALWAYS! So when I am not WASHING MY HANDS, one of my favorite brands is The Honest Company because they carry a spray! I love the fact that when I spray it and rub it in, my hands don't feel dry, but rather soft and moisturized. Their product is plant based and doesn't feel sticky after you have applied it no matter how many times you use it. It has a light fresh scent that isn't overpowering. I keep this stuff everywhere. It's priced at around $4 and is found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and sometimes Target (the carry a lot of the Honest Company Gels).
These 3 products alone should help carry you through any respiratory season. We definitely have them everywhere between the house, the car and diaper bags. Safe and easy supportive care goes a long way for our little ones. Keep healthy until next time...