If you’ve seen parents sharing photos on social media, asking that people refrain from kissing their baby, doctors say that they have a sound reason for that.
As flu season approaches, local doctors are advising parents on what to look out for in their babies and how to protect them from contracting viral infections.
RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a common viral infection which usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. It can spread to anybody at any age, but while for adults, RSV is just a common cold, it can be very serious for infants. In fact, this virus is the most common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in kids younger than 1 year of age in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people infected with Respiratory Syncytial Virus usually show symptoms within four to six days after contracting it and they’re usually contagious for three to eight days. But, people with weakened immune systems, including some infants, can continue spreading the RSV infection even after they stop displaying symptoms for as long as four weeks.
RSV may not be serious when it first begins. But, it can become more severe a few days after a person gets infected.
Infants who contract RSV almost always display symptoms. In infants who are less than six months old, the only symptoms of the viral infection may be decreased appetite, irritability, apnea, and decreased activity.
And while adults infected with RSV typically don’t need to be hospitalized, babies may need to be hospitalized if they’re dehydrated or they’re having difficulty breathing.
So, now that you know how susceptible infants are to RSV infection, next time you see a baby and think to yourself, “Oh, it’s so cute, I simply need to kiss it,” – please refrain from doing so.