RSV in Babies & Toddlers: Contagious? Treatment? | Nurse Stefan


– Molly sent a message about RSV. Let’s give her a call back, find out what she wants to know. (phone ringing) – [Molly] Hello? – Is this Molly? – Uh, who is this? – This is Nurse Stefan, I’m calling cause you sent
me a message about RSV. – [Molly] Oh yeah, hi! – So you’re clearly sick? – Um, yeah, I am sick, and I messaged you cause I was kind of freaking out. I just read this article
on today.com, you know? And it’s about this little
baby who was hospitalized and super duper sick. It said something about it was just like cold-like symptoms for adults. Clearly I have this cold and so – So you’re worrying. – [Molly] I am worried,
yeah, I have a 14 month old. – I don’t know how
familiar you are with RSV, but RSV stands for Respiratory
Syncytial Virus, okay? Okay?
– [Molly] Yeah I couldn’t figure out how you’d say it. – Yeah, you’re right, it’s everywhere and just about everyone gets it, okay? Including you, me, your
kids, everyone, okay? Let’s just nip that in the bud right now. In fact it’s pretty safe
to say that everyone’s gotten RSV by the time they’re
like two, three years old. Every year during this season, like October to May, it
usually gets the worst right around the end of
January, beginning of February. It’s all over the place. Everyone just walking around with RSV. – [Molly] If like a bunch of people are walking around with it, does that mean it’s not
like that dangerous? – No, no, uh uh. As you said, in adults
it can just look like cold-like symptoms but
that’s because you know, we can compensate for it. Older kids, grown adults. But you’re also right to be concerned about your 14 month old. When it comes to the little
ones and the elderly, their bodies can’t quite handle
it as well as ours can, so. Now it may or may not be dangerous, and I know that’s a
frustrating answer to hear, but our bodies aren’t cut and dry, and that’s why we have
brains to be able to resource like you’re doing now, in order to determine whether or not it is or is not dangerous, okay? And we’re going to talk about that. – [Molly] Okay.
– So first let’s remember that RSV is just the name of the virus, okay? The Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It’s not the actual disease
process that’s happening. It’s what’s causing it. The virus that’s usually
causing bronchiolitis and in some cases pneumonia. Okay, so you’ve heard of
bronchitis before, right? – [Molly] Yeah, no, my
sister just got over it. – Okay, yeah, so, well what’s
happening with your sister is her upper airways are
getting inflamed, okay? And that can be acute, like an attack, or like ongoing inflammation which we would call chronic bronchitis. – [Molly] Okay.
– Now, bronchiolitis is what we usually see in children, and it’s inflammation of the lower part of the respiratory tract, in an area of the lungs
called the bronchioles. Cause the job of the
bronchioles is to help move air in and out of the lungs, they get all swollen and
mucusy and it makes it harder to pass air from, you
know, the outside world into your lungs. Or what we commonly call breathing, right? But nonetheless, RSV is
the culprit that’s causing the bronchiolitis, and so
that’s what we have to treat. So I’m going to test your
knowledge real quick. What antibiotic do we use to treat RSV? – [Molly] I don’t think
you do cause it’s a virus. – Vroom! Ding ding ding! Round of applause, well done! Someone’s paying attention. Now if there was some sort
of a bacterial component, like bacterial pneumonia
or something like that, then we would treat
that with an antibiotic, but a virus on its own, no antibiotic. Now most of the time, RSV
will cause bronchiolitis that’ll come and go on its own. So your kid might not want to eat, might have cold-like symptoms, a runny, stuffy nose, you know, a dry cough, a low-grade
fever, that kind of thing. So your best resource
whenever you’re worried about your kid being
sick is your pediatrician or other healthcare provider. Call them and talk to
them whether it’s them or the nurse triage line, whatever it is. Tell them what’s going on, okay, and act according to the guidance of your healthcare provider. That being said, a lot of times this is
what they’ll tell you. They’ll tell you to not worry, make sure your kid’s
drinking lots of fluids, use a humidifier to help moisten the air so the airways can stay moistened. Saline drops with one
of those bulb suctions. They might have you manage a
fever with Motrin or Tylenol, you know, depending on their age, get that recommendation
from your provider. But never Aspirin, okay? You know why? – [Molly] Um, not really,
I know that it says not to give it to kids. – Yeah, it does yeah,
so it’s Reye’s syndrome, and it’s a whole other topic we’ll talk about in another video, but just know that you
don’t want to give Aspirin to anyone under the age of 18. They’re probably going to
give you some of that advice, but they’re really going
to tell you to keep an eye on your child getting worse. Okay, we’re talking about wheezing, with a really bad cough. Having a real hard time
eating and drinking. Really fast paced
breathing, rapid breathing. Also babies do this thing
called apneic breathing, which you’ve heard of sleep
apnea before I’m sure? – [Molly] Oh yeah with those
like breathing machines? – Yeah, yeah, yes, exactly. So apnea means the
absence of breath, right? So basically what babies will do, is they’ll start breathing really fast, and then all the sudden take a pause for anywhere up to 20 seconds, so it would sound something like (breathes really fast) – [Molly] Oh my gosh. – That was 10 seconds. Roughly, okay? So that’s how scary it is, okay? Babies like to scare
the bejeezus out of you. They also do this thing
called retractions, which looks like the
skin around their ribcage is getting sucked inside
every time they take a breath, and you’ll be able to visibly see that. Okay, but any grunting
or if they’re starting to show signs of you know, cyanosis, paleness, turning
blue, anything like that, don’t mess around, immediately
call an ambulance, okay? – [Molly] Scary.
– Now since RSV is a virus, and as you correctly said,
we don’t use antibiotics to treat viruses, we
use supportive therapy. Which is usually like supplemental oxygen, which can range anywhere
from little tiny nasal prongs we’ll put in their nose, to actual intubation where we put a tube down their trachea and we
use mechanical ventilation to breathe for them, which can be a very
scary sight for everyone, but it is to ensure that
the child’s getting enough oxygen to their brain and
the rest of their body to adequately grow and sustain life, okay? But remember this is only
a temporary measure, okay, until the virus clears, okay, your kid improves and they can
breathe on their own again. Aside from that, we usually
give fluids through an IV, because even if we’re not
mechanically breathing for them, they have a low likelihood of
being able to keep stuff down, being able to eat on their own if they’re breathing at such a rapid rate. So most healthy kids, like I
said, are going to get over bronchiolitis caused by
the RSV in a few days, but if it’s a real young kid, I would say a premature baby or something, or if they have any sort
of preexisting like, lung or heart issues, the recovery process is
going to be prolonged, right? So the question is how
do we not get RSV, okay? And the answer is it’s
probably not going to happen. But what we can do is try
and stop the spread of RSV as best as possible. And number one is and always
will be washing your hands. Especially if you’re around
a lot of sick people, okay? Washing your hands is a must, because the further you go in life, the more hard surfaces you’re touching, and the more likely you are
to spread your germs around. You can definitely use hand sanitizer if there’s no sink handy, but make sure you do it thoroughly, and then when you get to a sink, wash your hands thoroughly. Now do you smoke? – [Molly] No, not at all. Doesn’t sound like it
right now but I don’t. – Good, okay, do not smoke
around children, okay? Please just don’t do it. It’s not good for you,
it’s not good for them. And this one may seem like a no brainer, but limit your contact around sick people, okay, including kids. I’m not saying quarantine them, but limit your contact with them, okay? It’s not forever, it’s just until you or
they are getting better. And that doesn’t mean
you can’t breastfeed, it’s actually encouraged that you do, because it provides
antibodies to the child, however check with the CDC because they have all sorts of
recommendations around that. Now, the widely
recommended annual flu shot can be given to anyone over six months, because the flu, just like RSV, can be life-threatening,
in a very real way. You may meet criteria for receiving a medication called Palivizumab, okay, which helps protect against
severe cases of RSV. Again, these are your choices, but remember that the choices that we make in protecting against these
life-threatening illnesses are not only for ourselves
and our loved ones, but for our society as a whole, right? – [Molly] Oh definitely not. – There you have it Molly, RSV, okay? Respiratory Syncytial
Virus, causes bronchiolits, or the inflammation of the
bronchioles in the lungs, can be not that big of a deal, to a very dangerously big deal. So now you know what we look for, when and how to go about
getting help for it, okay? Do you feel better? Course you don’t. Well I hope you do though. – [Molly] (laughs) okay, well thank you. Any other questions? No I think you’ve cleared it up. Thank you so much. Alright let’s hope that laryngitis clears up. I’ll talk to ya later.