Treatment wise, you’ve seen pretty much what there is to offer with the support FG is currently receiving: external oxygen, breathing treatments and suction. Premature babies under the gestational age of 32 weeks may be able to receive a drug by the name of palivizumab that can help prevent the development of serious RSV, but it does not outright prevent infection with RSV and it cannot cure or treat children already suffering from RSV. It is also good to know that for the majority of older babies insurances do not cover the palivizumab and it is, unfortunately, largely cost prohibitive without their financial aid. Prevention is then the only thing we as caregivers and responsible communities can address.
So how do we prevent RSV?
At this point in our crash course education on RSV, HB and I are feeling thoroughly flummoxed that something so common and universally applicable could be so utterly foreign to us as parents and as self-identifiying educated, health conscientious Americans. I mean we pay close attention to what preservatives and chemicals go into the food we purchase, we know the difference between a carbohydrate and sugar, we use sunscreen, we model healthy exercise behavior for our children, and they regularly wash behind their ears... and yet, the sniffles have completely taken us out at the knees. The post-traumatic correlation between ignorance and guilt that is besieging my conscience as I stand here watching FG breath in his sleep is enough to bring out the white flag of surrender and promise this little guy a lifetimes supply of cartoons and chocolate to make up for what, I feel, is an unacceptable oversight on my part. Instead of feeling retrospectively slothful, I could have done more of the preventative steps to ensure his safety... and instead of being blind sided, I could - should - have known what we were up against and recognized the signs of danger sooner than the eleventh hour.
But, all self deprecation and guilt-assuaging aside, I know the enemy now and I sincerely want to take this opportunity to get the word out to you brave souls resiliently reading my rambling because, Lord help me, RSV is the worst thing I've endured -- and I'm not even the one who is sick! RSV is no joke and, even if you aren't around a little guy on a daily basis, I guarantee someone you come into contact with is and they - we - cannot afford to see something as seemingly harmless as a "cold" rip our world asunder with the loss of that which is most important: our children. Please educate yourselves and those around you about the Respiratory Syncytial Virus and, as a village, help keep these little innocents safe from this all too real, all too prevalent boogieman.
To learn more about RSV please check out these additional resources:
* The Mayo Clinic definition and explanation of RSV symptoms, risk factors, complications and treatments