This year in the Willamette Valley cases of respiratory illness among infants and children are skyrocketing. Many infants are experiencing illnesses which don’t usually peak until January.
You can protect your baby from RSV and other respiratory illnesses.
First though, what is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial (sin-Sish-uhl) virus, or RSV, is common respiratory virus which is generally mild but can be very dangerous for infants and the elderly. It typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms. RSV can be serious and is one of the top reasons for hospital admissions in the Fall and Winter for infants.
There are steps you can take to protect your baby, including:
- Limiting visitors and people who touch and hold your baby. Adults can be contagious up to 24hrs before symptoms arise.
- Hand washing and keeping people are sick, even mildly away form baby.
- Tell family, friends, and even strangers not to kiss your baby.
- Wear a mask in public and avoid contact in crowded places with limited air flow.
- Breastfeed, ideally exclusively, for at least 6 months
“Conclusion: Breastfeeding has been shown to have a protective effect for infants with RSV bronchiolitis. WHO recommends minimum 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding for maximal immune protection against viral infections in infants.”
Minerva, G. & Phillip, R. 2022. Impact of Breastfeeding on the Incidence and Severity of RSV Bronchiolitis in Infants: Systematic Review. Pediatrics
To learn more check out this article from the CDC.