Becoming a parent is one of the most joyful times in your entire life, but it also opens the door to a whole new set of everyday worries. Things you never had to think about before like feeding schedules, immunizations, the importance of newborn baby tummy time, and more become topics of everyday discussion between you and your partner. Not to add another thing to your ever-growing list, but thinking about and preparing for RSV season, especially an early one like this year should be on your parenting radar.
If the term RSV is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and can best be described as a small cold for adults, but a virus that can wreak havoc on the immunocompromised, a group mostly made up of babies, toddlers, and older populations.
What You Need to Know About RSV
RSV starts with cold-like symptoms such as coughing, running nose, and fever, and can quickly become more serious—even life threatening, especially in the very young and very old age groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis (lung inflammation) in children younger than one year of age in the U.S. and results in 57,000 hospitalizations in children under age five.
What makes this RSV season different from others?
The normal timeframe for RSV season in the United States is between October and March/April. However, right now, it is currently July and we are advising you to start preparing. According to recent reports, RSV is on the rise this year during the summer months, too. According to our Dr. Noze Best founder, Dr. Steve Goudy, “experts are still trying to determine why this is happening, as Australia saw high levels of RSV during their summer (December) and are now also having it a lot during their winter (now).”
How to Prepare For an Early RSV Season
We totally get it: you probably aren’t thinking about managing colds during the summer months when your family is visiting the beach or playing at your local playground in the sunshine, but you still need to prepare.
“Awareness is key, knowing that RSV is present in the community will help families avoid infecting their little one! Washing hands, avoiding others kissing/holding your little baby, and going to your pediatrician if you think your baby is sick will be important. For preemies, knowing that RSV is in the community is important as it may impact their lungs and you may need to ask your PCP about getting RSV antibody shots (Synagis),” says Dr. Goudy.
It is important for parents to keep in mind that RSV is a virus and has to run its course whether in the summer or winter. Being prepared for bad colds and congestion is important. “Since babies breathe primarily through their nose, they suffer from nasal congestion the worst, and RSV causes a lot of nasal congestion. Having a good nasal suction device (think NozeBot) and saline and humidification are key.”
You might also find yourself wondering if there is a correlation between COVID-19 and RSV, and Dr. Goudy says that,”they are both viruses but they act very differently and there is not a RSV vaccine yet!” This means that having our NozeBot handy is even more important!
What Parents Need to Know About RSV in Babies vs. Toddlers
Age plays a huge role in the severity of RSV. Dr. Goudy says, “toddlers can get RSV but are less impacted as they can breathe through their nose and mouth, unlike infants. Being sure to treat fevers with Tylenol and Motrin is key to helping them and ensuring appropriate hydration.”
Looking for more information about RSV season? Here are additional resources:
- Why RSV is on the Rise Among Children … and When Parents Need to Act
- Cold Relief Tips From Dr. Noze Best
- What You Need to Know About RSV
We hope that these tips help you prepare to navigate the upcoming RSV season. Overall, we always urge parents to be as prepared as possible, which means educating yourself (we do a great job of sharing daily parenting tips on Instagram and TikTok!) and having items handy and ready to use in the comfort of your own home (saline, Tylenol, and the NozeBot - just to name a few!) We have all been there, and there is nothing worse than having to make a midnight run to your corner store in panic mode!