How do I know if my baby has RSV?
It seems to be the million dollar question right now, so it's time I started up this Blog again. Parents on all my baby/toddler courses are stressed about RSV. It's in the newspapers, it's on the internet, it's on TV, it's all over the place.
I think the answer is to say forget RSV and just look at the normal things which you should be watching out for, for signs of general illness in infants. Those three key things: colour, breathing, level of activity and alertness.
Colour: Is your baby paler than usual? Does she look unwell?
Breathing: Is your baby's breathing different from normal? Is it noisy or laboured? If there are any signs of real breathing difficulties: flaring nostrils, muscle use in the neck and torso, skin sucking in around the collar bone and especially if you lift her top up, can you see the skin drawing in under the ribs? All babies are tummy-breathers, but is that tummy moving a whole lot more than usual? Anything that doesn't look or sound 'normal' isn't normal. Get help. Majorly not normal, get IMMEDIATE medical attention. There are a couple of really good videos here, showing a baby (scroll down for a two year old) struggling to breath: Signs That Children Are Struggling To Breathe | KidsHealth NZ
Alertness: Is your baby behaving as you would expect? Is she as alert as she usually is? Or is she bleak, lethargic, listless, and/or refusing feeds?
So back to RSV. Is it RSV or not? You don't need to be "diagnosing" RSV. All of the above are signs of illness in an infant. Let your doctor decide if it's RSV or if it's something entirely different. WHAT the specific illness is, isn't up to you to decide. The fact that your infant appears unwell in any way is all you need to know. Your doctor will work out the rest of it.
If in doubt, check it out.