When my son’s daycare posted a note that two children had been diagnosed with RSV, I wasn’t concerned about him catching the illness.
I had always thought the virus was only an illness babies contracted, not children as old as my 4-year-old.
In reality, RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) can affect babies through adults. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), RSV is a “respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.” Healthy people can recover within one to two weeks, but some babies, young children and even adults can have more severe reactions to the virus.
When my youngest daughter had RSV as a baby, we were lucky she didn’t have to be hospitalized, but I remember sitting and holding her, counting how many breaths she was taking per minute. Her pediatrician had told me it would be dangerous for her to take more than 60 breaths a minute. So, I sat in the rocking chair, staring at her, focusing on every breath and counting …. 50 … 55 … 60 …. 50. It was nerve-racking.
My 4-year-old’s symptoms started Sunday: Crying, loss of appetite, 101-degree temperature, extreme sinus drainage. Today, his temperature has decreased, and though he is not his usual rowdy self, he is feeling better.
For more information about symptoms and treatment, go to the CDC Web site.
Brandon and Susie Dutcher did what a lot of families would do when told their baby was sick: they prayed and sought the best medical help. Anne Marie wasn’t even born yet when the Edmond couple began the journey they hoped would make their family of six a happy, healthy family of seven. They’ve been chronicling their lives and Anne Marie’s story on their blog in the month since she was born. The doctors aren’t sure she’ll make it. Her parents aren’t sure either, but their extraordinary faith has carried them through. As a parent, I find their updates both inspiring and heartwrenching and don’t read without a box of tissue handy. I check daily to find out how that precious little angel and her family are doing. Go see for yourself: http://www.brandondutcher.blogspot.com/
What does your day care know about swine flu (H1N1 flu) and what measures are they urged to follow? The Centers for Disease Control have recently issued updated guidelines to day cares on how to combat the spread of this virus.
Here’s what your day care should have been told:
1. Encourage all staff to get vaccinated.
2. Make sure children’s and staff’s hands are washed often with soap and water, and especially after children cough or sneeze. Keep alcohol-based hand cleaner nearby if a sink isn’t readily available.
3. Remind children and staff not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth as germs are often spread this way.
4. Clean the environment regularly. Dirty areas and items should be cleaned immediately, especially play areas and toys.
5. Day care staffers deemed to be high risk for flu complications and parents of children younger than age 5 who become ill with flu-like symptoms should call their doctor immediately to see if they are in need of antiviral treatment.
6. If a swine flu outbreak is severe, staff should consider closing the day care center to decrease the spread of infection. A decision to close should be made in conjunction with local public health officials.
7. Remind staff to stay home and parents to keep a sick child at home when they have flu-like symptoms. Send sick staff home immediately. If a child become ill at the day care, move them to a separate, but supervised, area until a parent can pick them up.
If an outbreak becomes more severe or symptoms more dangerous as the fall and winter season approach, the following guidelines should also be considered:
1. Let high-risk staffers stay at home.
2. Increase the distance between children; separate children into small groups of six or less.
3. Have children stay home if there are others in the child’s household who have the swine flu.
4. Inform parents of sick children and sick staff members that they should say home for at least 7 days.
5. Close the day care center either as a reaction to the outbreak or even as a preventative measure.
For more information about swine flu, go to http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
Here’s to hoping we and our children stay healthy this flu season.
(fixed broken link and updated with corrected name of New York Times author)
When my oldest child was 9 months old, he got really picky about what he ate. His hands played goalie to his mouth and only a limited variety of foods was allowed in. Except the day he ate a junebug off the floor as he crawled around. I got there just in time to hear the crunch. It was gross. I’ll spare you the details.
Now the New York Times is saying here that kind of behavior might be instinctual, that babies who put everything in their mouths as soon as they get mobile might be protecting their immune system more than the ultraclean environments some live in today.
“In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system,” writes Jane E. Brody in the New York Times.
Experts she quoted speculate that the increase in the number of immune system disorders – like asthma, allergies or Type 1 diabetes – diagnosed each year may be related to the idea that we should keep our children from germs of any kind.
The lesson here is that while cleanliness is still a virtue, it’s OK to allow some dirt in your house, and your children don’t always have to wash their hands after touching it. And if they eat a junebug or a worm or some other disgusting thing they pick up off the floor, then they might actually be helping their immune systems.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last January, my toddler woke up in the middle of the night crying inconsolably. He started thrashing his body across the bed and became very hot to the touch. I immediately took his temperature and there it was – 105 degrees. He asked for water but couldn’t keep it down. He started shaking uncontrollably and I called 911. He was having a febrile seizure, which can happen in young children with high fevers. He was transported to the hospital and they got his fever down and got fluids in him. In my situation, I reacted on instinct. At the time, I worried that I was overreacting, but it turned out that going to the ER in this case was the best choice.
Sometimes we can panic when it comes to our kids and we don’t know how to handle fever or sickness. Sometimes we feel it may not warrant a visit to the ER but in some cases it does. The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center had an article in their most recent OK Kids newsletter to help guide parents on what to look for. They say children need to be seen by a doctor if:
-Is younger than 2 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
-Is 6 months old or older and has a fever higher than 101.
-Is younger than 2 years old and has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
-Is 2 years old or older and has had a fever for more than 72 hours.
They also stress that the way a child is acting is far more important than what the thermometer says. If a child is lethargic, can’t stop crying, can’t hold down food or liquids, or shows signs of dehydration, contact a doctor. And if you’re ever in doubt about what to do or what a fever means, or if your child is acting in a way that concerns you, always call your doctor for advice.