I'm a mom with a healthy child. When my son gets sick it upsets me because I want him to be well. I want him to be running around and playing with other kids and having fun. I want him to be sleeping through the night and not waking up with a cough or a fever. I want him to be his version of normal. That is what I hope all parents want for their child.
On the other hand, I see RSV as something much much different than the average parent. Yes for me it is annoying, it is time consuming, it is sad. It is also much much worse for many families that I am very close to. For them, RSV can be a death sentence. RSV is why their children have to be holed up inside of a house for half of a year. RSV is why their child has to get expensive shots during RSV season.
For me, I can be told my son has RSV and I can take him home and do my best to get him through his cold as comfortably as possible. I can remain relaxed and care free.
For a SMA parent, being told their child has RSV is something they NEVER want to hear.
This raises the question, how does it make a diagnosis of RSV different for me? I take Leyton home, I do my best to make him comfortable and get him over this virus but I also become VERY concerned about his and my capability to spread this virus to someone that might not be as lucky.
So, I do what most parents do...I hit the world wide web. I start Google'ing RSV to get facts. I look for ways to help my son and I look for ways to not spread this to others. The one piece I didn't have an answer too was how long my son is contagious. How long do I need to keep him out of daycare? How long do I need to keep him away from the general public?
I googled "how long is RSV contagious for infants."
The second site that came up was Virtual Pediatric Hospital. It was your typical site with the facts about RSV, treatment for RSV, etc. I went to the part that I was concerned by: contagion. I read exactly this.
Is RSV contagious?
- Yes. RSV is very contagious.
- It can be passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or contact with infected items.
- The virus can survive on a surface for hours.
- If the virus gets on your hands, you can be infected if you touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
- It can be passed between children at school and carried home to infect others in the household.
- It is also easily passed in hospitals between patients and staff.
- Your child may be contagious even if she does not have symptoms.
In summary reading that it would seem that Leyton is very contagious. He only has to touch something and hours later someone else could touch that item and become infected with RSV. That still wasn't quite answering my question though...how long to keep him away from other children. It was then I reached the last bullet point.
- Children with RSV do not need to stay home from school or daycare. It usually doesn't prevent the spread of infection to other children.
Seriously? So my son is SUPER contagious but no worries, go ahead and put him around other children because it "usually" doesn't prevent the spread? Well yeah, it usually doesn't because you are telling every fucking parent that comes to your site to go ahead and spread it around! Now, the kids that are in Leyton's daycare are not high risk kids. What happens though when that kid gets taken on an after daycare errand to Target and sits in the cart. My friend Kate comes along afterwards and uses this cart...where RSV can last for hours. She now is potentially bringing this back into her home where her high risk child is.
I can't tell you how furious this site makes me. I have no false illusions that all of us with sick kids can't keep them at home in a bubble until they are not contagious but this kind of bullet pointed bull shit is what is killing other children.
While I don't yet have the solid answer to my question, I leave you with this. If your kid is sick, do your best to keep them at home and try not to spread things like RSV. For you and your child it might just be a common cold but for someone else it could be far more deadly.
Oh and fuck you Virtual Pediatric Hospital. I can't wait to do some research and see what you have on your site about SMA.