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What Is RSV?

As schools close for the holiday season, kids are coming home with more than just their backpacks. The cold weather brings seasonal illnesses, and it is worse than ever this year. RSV is the latest acronym that’s become part of our everyday vocabulary. It stands for respiratory syncytial virus, and while it’s a common cold weather illness, it has hit the U.S. earlier and harder than in years past. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows just how high the case numbers are. 

RSV Symptoms to Look For

RSV is a common, contagious respiratory infection for children. Most will have had it by the time they are two years old. But yes it’s not uncommon for older children and adults to get it. The full reopening of schools and getting back to pre-Covid behaviors has helped RSV to spread quickly and easily.

Symptoms will show up in stages and will usually begin four to six days after exposure. The symptoms are similar to many other respiratory illnesses, but here is what you should look for:

  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing

There’s currently no prescription treatment or vaccine for RSV. Instead, over-the-counter products are used to manage the symptoms. Check with your pediatrician for the best options, but they will generally recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the fever and headache, a decongestant and cough suppressant for congestion and cough, and plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.

Why are Respiratory Viruses so Dangerous for Infants and Toddlers?

Most cases of RSV are mild. However, there are signs that your child’s infection may be more severe. Is their breathing short, shallow, or rapid? Are their nostrils flaring as they breathe? Do you see their chest muscles and skin pull in with each breath? If you see any of these signs, then you should contact your child’s doctor or head to the nearest emergency room.

RSV can cause severe illness in babies and toddlers. According to the CDC, an estimated 60,000-80,000 children younger than five are hospitalized each year because of RSV infection. They have much smaller airways than adults, which can fill up with mucus quickly, leading to breathing problems. Children with underlying health conditions—no matter their age—may also have a higher risk for severe illness from RSV. 

How Alen Can Help Protect Your Family

There’s often no way to stop your kid’s coughs and sneezes, but there are ways you can combat the spread of RSV in your home. Since RSV can spread through the air, one of the best things you can do is invest in an air purifier. While you may not be able to control what you’re exposed to out in the world, you can control what comes into your home. Air purifiers pull pollutants out of the air, sending clean, purified air back out. Having an air purifier and running it frequently can help eliminate and control the spread of the germs you and your family bring home.

The Alen BreatheSmart 45i is a great choice to help you clean the air from RSV or any other airborne virus or contaminant. It works with a customizable HEPA filter, which is the gold standard in air purification. The unit’s advanced particle sensor technology will monitor the air quality in the room. When it detects harmful particles, it will adjust immediately to clean the air. 

The 45i has four fan speeds and covers up to 800 square feet, so it’s a great option for bedrooms. Placing a larger 75i in the living room, where the family spends time is a good way to be together without making each other sick. If the air around you is clean and pure, it’s much easier to breathe and recover.

Sickness, unfortunately, is inevitable, especially during colder months. There are things you can do, however, to lower you and your family’s chances of getting viruses like RSV. Cleaning your hands, surfaces, and the air around you can help protect your little ones and keep them healthy.

IMPORTANT: Alen does not provide medical advice. Consult your doctor or a medical professional with healthcare questions

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