Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Looking for some seasonal illnesses to inflict upon your characters? Or perhaps, their children?
It that time of year when we're gettting into "respiratory season". The time of year many pediatric medical professionals dread because it is when all the respiratory viruses come out to play and our patient volumes increase.
RSV is a virus that causes bronchiolitis. It is the causative agent but not the only virus that causes bronchiolits.
RSV stands for respiratory synctytial virus. It has a confined season that lasts approximately 20 weeks and starts in late fall/early winter and lasts until spring.
The concern with RSV is that it is easily transmitted through touch. Someone coughs into their hands and then touches another on the face would be an example of its transmission. Unfortunately, the RSV virus can live on surfaces and clothing for several hours. The best way to prevent its transmission is with good hand washing.
The virus causes inflammation and increased mucous production in the smaller airways. This can lead to respiratory distress in a child.Young infants are more apt to develop respiratory distress.
But how can you tell if your child is having difficulty breathing and needs medical attention?
1. They are breathing fast. Count their breathing over a period of one minute. One breath is in and out. Infants should be breathing less than 60 times per minute.
2. You see retractions. Retractions are when skin is pulled inward during breathing. It my be pulled in between the ribs, above the sternum, above the collar bones, and below the rib cage. The more evident the skin tugging is, the more difficulty they are having. Retractions are a sign the child is using additional muscles to help them breathe. Their belly may bob up and down as well.
3. You hear extra noises when they are breathing. They might be musical, barmy like a seal, or high pitched like when the top of a balloon is squeezed when the air escapes through a smaller passage.
4. They have color changes. Their skin is pale or blue.
5. They are not interested in eating or drinking or are having difficulty eating and drinking. Children, particularly babies, that are having trouble breathing will pull of the breast/bottle to take breaths. Young babies breath just through their nose, so if it's clogged with secretions, they can't breath and nurse at the same time.
The more symptoms the baby has, the more significant their difficulty breathing. If you see signs such as these, you should have them checked by their pediatrician or local emergency department.