RSV is something new parents and parents of premature birth or compromised immune system children need to be aware of. Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV strikes the weakest of babies who are already fighting to build an immune system. National RSV Month is observed each October. The disease strikes babies under 2 years old, even just weeks old, and appears to come on as a common cold. While the numbers of deaths from RSV has declined, it is only because of awareness and hypervigilance of parents and the medical community.
Symptoms of RSV
- Difficulty Breathing
- Cough that produces yellow, green or gray mucus
- Unusual upset or inactive
- Refusing to eat
- High fever (100.4)
- Persistent cough
- Dehydration – no tears, no urine, cool dry skin
- Rapid breathing
- Blue tint to lips or fingernails
RSV is transmitted by contact. As with other respiratory illnesses, an exchange of infected droplets from the nose or mouth will spread the infection to others.
Adults and children in direct contact must hand wash frequently. Sharing toys in a public setting such as daycare or at play dates can also transmit the virus. Everyone loves to kiss and hold a baby, but this is a time where immune systems are most vulnerable. Parents used to think that exposure to germs was a way to build an immune system, but not today, especially with the realities of COVID-19. It is just too risky. Create boundaries with friends and family and be conscientious about wiping down toys and common objects with a sanitizer and cloth.
Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR technology enables a rapid diagnostic in a clinical microbiology lab to detect pathogens. This helps keep testing costs down, and reduces the sample size necessary in testing. The machine replicates DNA in order to give a usable sample size for testing. (Anderson 2019)
Why is this important? Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) RNA, Qualitative Real-Time PCR is a test used to determine the presence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in a patient’s specimen. Organisms can be detected by PCR prior to diagnosis by immunological methods. PCR provides more rapid results than other methods, including culture. (Quest 2019)
With an infant suffering from RSV, time is of the essence. Because the virus mimics less lethal illnesses, it can be overlooked until a child is in critical distress. By that time, a culture testing method is not an option.
Our Emergency Room has acquired new PCR technology because we saw the need to respond to a respiratory medical emergency, especially with infants, with a sense of urgency and to be able to provide a quality of critical care not found in a doctor’s office or even many ER’s. We can diagnose and treat your child without making you wait for answers or misdiagnose the real problem, increasing the risk of deadly complications. The life of your child and the children of our community matter to us and we want to be your family “go-to” in the event of a respiratory or any other medical emergency. When a child can’t breathe, we are ready to take immediate action with state-of-the-art equipment and Board-Certified Emergency Physicians.
Anderson, William. PCR: Uses, Steps, Purpose. 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/pcr-uses-steps-purpose/.
“Quest Diagnostics Test Directory.” Quest Diagnostics: Test Directory, 2019, https://testdirectory.questdiagnostics.com/test/test-detail/16047/?cc=MASTER.