Over this past winter sickness hit my family like a brick wall. All the ick you could imagine for over a month. Was it allergies? Had the flu come to rest? Or was it respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)?
As a nurse, I knew a few things.
Allergies tend to be seasonal, affect those with breathing issues more, and aren't as likely to cause a temperature.
The flu presents with high fevers, excessive nasal drainage, coughing, body aches, fatigue/lethargy, sometimes vomiting, sore throat, and chills.
RSV, on the other hand, may seem like an upper respiratory infection, sinus problem, or even the flu, but the key symptoms to be aware of are these:
Cough with wheezing or rattling
Tenacious secretions and nasal drainage
Fever (100.3 +)
Below the rib retractions or nasal flaring
While my oldest had an upper respiratory infection (cough and congestion only), my youngest was diagnosed with RSV.
So what is RSV?
Dr. Lukasz Dabrowski, pediatrician at SIH Center for Medical Arts, calls RSV a “tenacious cold.” It may last up to a week, with breathing issues peaking at 4-5 days. RSV is transmitted by droplet (like saliva), so maintaining good hand hygiene, clean toys, and separate bottles/sippy cups are necessary. It is important to have your child checked since it “may lead to ear or sinus infections” (Lukasz Dabrowski, MD).
Since it is a virus, RSV is not fixed with antibiotics. What does help is picking up:
- Something to clear nasal passages like:
- Nose Frida
- Eco Piggy
- Zoli Breath
- Oogie bear
- Something to help cough and congestion:
- Eucalyptus rub
- Diffusing oils
- Cough suppressant
- Something for their dry noses and mouths
- CJ's butter or thick cream
- Pura bottle
- Something to help you manage
Sickness is never fun, but if you consult with a doctor, pick up some goodies, and manage the symptoms, you can get through it all--even if it does last a month!
Anne Vana is a nurse in Carbondale, IL. She is married to her best friend and is a mother of two precious boys.