Friday, December 3, 2010

RSV, Bronchiolitis, and Baby

My 5 month old has been sick for weeks.  It is most likely that she developed RSV a few weeks ago which led to the Bronchiolitis she currently has.  What do I do to help her??  The truth is, there isn't a whole lot I can do.  We just sort of have to wait it out.

RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Viris, is a common virus among infants.  The symptoms are similar to that of a cold.  A stuffy nose, cough, and perhaps a fever are the symptoms we're used to when it comes to the common cold.  Difficulty breathing and bluish skin color are probably the symptoms that lead us to freak out and rush our little ones to the doctor.  However, as antibiotics do not cure RSV, the hospital will most likely provide additional oxygen to the baby, keep him under a humidifier, and/or provide hydrating fluids through an IV.

Bronchiolitis is most often caused by RSV.  With bronchiolitis, the cold-like symptoms may worsen, but the noticeable difference is going to be the increased congestion in the chest.  Again, antibiotics are not going to cure Bronchiolitis.  Reasons to take the baby to the hospital would be obvious difficulty breathing, bluish skin (as with the RSV), increased wheezing, flared nostrils, and/or suddenly worse cold symptoms.

I have chosen to write about this because my daughter has been on a roller coaster of sickness for (literally) the past 3 weeks.  It started with what seemed to be a cold.  We all know when small children are in a room together and one has a runny nose, they're all leaving with a runny nose.  Our little Emma must have picked up a cold.  I blamed it on the other little kids with colds and assumed it would go away within that first week.  When it didn't get any better, I began to get a little worried.  She seemed to be well enough to travel, so we embarked upon our journey to California for our Thanksgiving break.  The entire day we traveled was cold and rainy.  Obviously, this did nothing to help our daughter's symptoms.  We finally arrived in CA, and not only had Emma experienced a stressful, rainy day of traveling, but she was suddenly surrounded by many family members.  As the week progressed, her symptoms got worse. When she started coughing (a terrible sounding cough, mind you), we decided to take her to a doctor just to make sure everything was OK.  The doctor took a quick look and diagnosed her with Brochiolitis.  We left with a prescription for Amoxicillin and Tylenol.  The doctor said the antibiotic may or may not help but advised us to use it anyway.  I called our pediatrician (as we were out of the state) just to confirm what we had been told by the other doctor.  After 6 days on the Amoxicillin and still no improvement, I needed reassurance that she was still OK.  I've talked with the professionals (my mom, mother-in-law, a nurse/super-mom friend, and other moms) and have learned that it honestly may just take a while before this is out of her system.  I've also learned many tips for helping our little one that we can use at home.

At Home Treatment and Tips

  • Humidifier
    • It is particularly dry in our area, so we have 2 humidifiers running at night when Emma sleeps.  The humidifier is supposed to help loosen all of the gunk built up in her sinuses and chest.
  • Extra Water
    • Giving Baby a little water throughout the day (not too much) will help loosen the mucus as well.  Plus, it will help Baby stay hydrated.  
  • Sit in the Bathroom with the Shower Running
    • Run a super hot shower and sit with Baby in the bathroom.  My mother-in-law advised this yesterday.  I actually set up a humidifier in there for an extra boost.  We played in the bathroom for about 20 minutes (until I thought she was getting too hot).  She is honestly much better today.  I wish I would have started doing it weeks ago.  
  • Vicks VapoRub (for Babies)
  • Try to have Baby sleep in a slightly upright position.  Unless fastened securely in some sort of baby seat or sleeper, Baby will need to be monitored.
    • Boppy Pillow
    • Pillow placed under one end of crib mattress
    • Pillow placed under one end of playpen mat
    • etc.  
How to Get Baby to Swallow Medicine
The first time I tried to give Emma her antibiotic, I attempted to insert it directly into her mouth.  I don't know what I was thinking.  That would taste terrible; naturally she was going to spit it out.  My husband's aunt was with me at the time and suggested masking the taste with a little diluted apple juice.  I was nervous about the sugar in the juice, but it worked.  I advise finding the healthiest apple juice available, matching half (or less) apple juice/half (water, and adding the antibiotic.  It takes about an ounce and a half total for Emma to tolerate it.  

In conclusion, if you're in my shoes and are a first time mother with a sick baby, I hope this information helps a little.  Having never experienced this before, I was worried about my little girl, but I'm pretty sure things are going to be fine.  We just have to be patient as there isn't much to do when they're this young.  

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