Friday, March 7, 2014

How Safe Is Your Child? Did You Know We Are Deep Into RSV Season?


  Because of my families experiences, I wanted to tell  you our story and share a really serious virus RSV with you. We thought we were safe, do you really know how safe your children are? When my daughter was tiny I had to work, this meant that I had to rely on day care and baby sitters. Living in a small town I did not have a wide variety of caregivers I could choose from. I chose a day care center that seemed pretty secure  No one could gain access to the children without someone on staff handing the child over to the adult who was picking them up. They always checked the adults photo identification when a child was picked up, and they always checked to see that the person picking up was allowed to take the child  There were a lot of children, so I felt safe leaving my daughter there. I felt that she would be protected,  and also get the much needed social exposure to other kids. As a young mother I had no idea there were other things I needed to worry about.  Which is why I am writing to you today. About a week into starting at this care center, I arrived to see my daughter sitting quietly in a corner. There was a lot of activity going on.  The other children were running and playing. However, my daughter was sitting, dejected and forgotten. I was immediately alarmed, which quickly turned to frustration, because it took almost a half hour to get one of the attendants attention. Then they would not let me see my daughter until they checked me out. The security process was slow and painful when I needed contact now.  I could not gain access to my daughter until they arrived at the front desk to greet me, check my id, her records and then collect her. No one was at the front desk, there was no bell, and I could not gain the eye of any of the adults I saw. I felt helpless. Then, when my daughter was finally brought to me, she told me she was not feeling well and the adult in control told her to go sit down. She had been there for hours, and no one checked on her. When I touched my daughters forehead she was burning up, and when I say burning up I don't mean the slightly warm feeling you expect when your child isn't feeling well. She was so hot it was shocking, no one had bothered to even touch her head or call me. I was angry, upset, and beyond niceties. I left the day care center and went directly to our pediatrician. What followed was one of the scariest 48 hours of our lives. When a doctor looks troubled and says they have no clue what's wrong, it's pretty scary. Our daughter had a fever of over 103, the doctor instructed us to take my daughter to the local emergency room where she would have orders waiting for us. They ran a gamut of tests that our daughter had to endure. She was on an I.V.,  which helped to bring her fever down enough for us to take her home. Even though the thermometer said she was within normal boundaries, her skin felt like it was scorching, and no one knew why. Even so, they let us take her home with instructions to take her back to our doctor the next day.  When we arrived at the doctors office, they told us not to enter through the lobby. Instead, they had us go through a back door, where we were escorted to a room to wait. It worried me that we did not go through the normal waiting room process. The doctor still wasn't  sure what was wrong, but she had an idea and would know for sure after she ran the next test. The doctor did say she was quite concerned and once again had us bring her back the next day. That was a sleepless night for my husband and I. We didn't know what was wrong, but we were afraid it was serious and our daughter may die. The next day our pediatrician looked a lot more relaxed when she told us she had been up researching all day and night for the last 48 hours. She had been afraid our daughter had a rare and fatal virus. So rare that it was hard to diagnose. She was relieved to tell us that what our daughter had was scarlet fever. It had fooled her because of the high temperature that dropped to hot skin and no temperature. The final test is what told her what was really wrong. Our daughter did not show any of the classic signs of scarlet fever which can be called strep throat . I am not a doctor so I can not tell you what the exact differences are, they are both caused by a group A streptococcal infection. I found out later that pink eye can be one of the symptoms of scarlet fever.  I discovered that this day care center had an outbreak of pink eye, strep throat, and scarlet fever. They did not inform the parents and did not keep the sick children home.  All of these conditions are highly contagious.
  About 80% of all American children between 6 weeks and 6 years old spend time in day care settings. This being the case, we can't always be there to keep sick children away from our own children. Children like to interact with each other, and lets face it, kids don't use the most sanitary standards and practices. Sadly, because the adults, who we pay to take care of our children, do not always give the individual attention to our children that we would. Our children are often times exposed to all sorts of contagious illnesses. This is why it's so important to understand RSV (respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus) and how dangerous it can be. Most children contract this disease by the time they are two years old. However infants, (especially preemies) that have not developed immunities to help them fight infection, can come in contact with the RSV virus and develop serious infections. RSV infections are the leading cause of infant hospitalization. It is responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year. What is most shocking, is that RSV can be found just about anywhere (doorknobs, counter tops, toys, bedding) and it will stay alive for hours. It can be spread by touching, kissing and hugging. So when you have children in a really lax atmosphere, like a day care facility, they can pick up the RSV virus anywhere. Even through their foods. So What does RSV do? It causes cold-like symptoms. With some babies it can result in really bad respiratory infections.  Because preemies lungs are not fully developed and they don't have the anti bodies necessary to fight infections, respiratory infections can be fatal. There are no treatments for RSV once contracted, so it's really important to control the spread of germs during RSV season. To do this all you need to do is make sure you wash your hands and your children's hands regularly. Make sure you regularly clean their toys, use clean clothing and maintain clean clean sheets and blankets on the beds. Avoid crowded areas and do not subject your child to cigarette smoke. We are deep into the RSV season which runs during the winter months of November through March. Be aware of what to look for and avoid anyone that has these symptoms: 
  • Constant coughing, wheezing or gasping for breath
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe
  • Bluish color around the lips, mouth or fingernails
  • High fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F in infants under 3 months of age)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty feeding
 *These are the more serious symptoms of RSV so if you notice them seek medical care immediately! Please note that a mild case will run it's course with out cause for alarm. Still, you need to keep your children from spreading to others. So keep them home when possible. Prevention is most important so if you can afford it, have your child with a nanny or private care, such as a relative who will care only for your children. If you have a tiny infant or preemie, you may want to have face masks and hand sanitizer on hand for visitors.  And always consult your doctor for more information on what you can do to prevent your child from contracting RSV. Please visit for more information on RSV.  

"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."