Sometimes kids catch weird germs. From hand foot and mouth to scabies, parents find themselves perplexed by the symptoms, worried by the diagnosis, and at a loss for what to do. Enter Holistic Squid – your source for to-the-point answers.
This week we are featuring RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) – an illness of the lungs and breathing passages, that is a major cause of respiratory illness in school-aged children and is most commonly spread during the school season (autumn through spring).
Palivizumab; Respiratory syncytial virus immune globulin.
What are the symptoms?
Fever, chills, headache, general malaise, respiratory tract symptoms including difficulty breathing and wheezing. Older children tend to have milder symptoms, while symptoms may be more severe in infants under one year of age.
Unlikely in healthy individuals. In newborns and those with weakened respiratory, cardiac, or immune systems, RSV can lead to more severe respiratory conditions including pneumonia or bronchiolitis and these individuals should be monitored by a qualified health care practitioner.
Often confused with…
The common cold.
How’s it spread?
Direct contact with infected respiratory secretions during sneezing, coughing or nose-blowing, or by touching contaminated individuals or items housing the virus. This virus can live on hands for a half hour or more, up to 5 hours on countertops or other surfaces, and for several hours on used tissues.
How long til symptoms appear?
4 – 6 days after coming into contact with the virus.
How long are you contagious?
Just prior to and until the end of the active disease.
How to prevent it?
RSV is often brought home from school-aged kids infecting the younger brothers and sisters, so take care to minimize “germ-sharing” amongst siblings. Practice good personal hygiene – wash hands before preparing or eating food; avoid sharing cups or eating utensils, and avoid contact with infected individuals.
Parents of at-risk kids may opt for a preventative drug which involves a monthly injection of RSV antibodies during peak RSV season.
Regardless of your child’s risk level or western medicine precautions, be sure to follow your standard wellness routine for cold/flu including Vitamin D, C, probiotics, and anti-viral herbs such as echinacea and astragalus or your favorite Chinese herbal formula. Speak to your practitioner to insure you’re using effective measures for your family.
How to treat it?
For older kids and adults, this is just like the treatment of the common cold – get plenty of rest, hydrate and eat a healthy diet that’s rich in nutrients as much as the appetite will allow. You may choose to treat symptoms as they arise. Humidified air may help alleviate symptoms. If your child is extremely uncomfortable and unable to sleep as a result, you may reduce fever and discomfort with over-the-counter ibuprofen (avoid aspirin and acetaminophen). Oxygen may be administered for severe cases.
Since RSV is a virus, antibiotics will not treat this illness. Chinese medicine is an ideal option for addressing the symptoms of RSV. The Chinese medical diagnosis is likely to be Wind-heat attacking the Lungs moving into a Phlegm Heat pattern. Talk to your practitioner to get the appropriate herbs for your child’s symptoms.
Another good treatment option, especially for newborns, is homeopathic remedies. It’s important to choose the correct remedy for efficacy. Two possible remedies are:
- Ipecacuanha – For wheezing or laboured breathing.
- Antimonium Tartaricum - If there is audible rattling of mucous in the chest along with wheezing or laboured breathing.