Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause severe infection in anyone with a weak immune system. It is often found to affect infants and can be especially prevalent in premature infants. 

Ashley Gerbrandt is the mother of a premature baby, so she is quite concerned for her child’s safety. 

Some actions you can take to keep babies safe are making sure your hands are clean before touching babies, covering your coughs and sneezes, and not kissing babies. 

If you have a baby of your own, it’s also recommended to avoid close contact with sick people, and clean and disinfect surfaces regularly. 

Gerbrandt says RSV can be scary for parents of babies, especially with the rise of respiratory virus cases at HSC. 

"HSC is reporting a lot of cases and lots of babies in the hospital right now," she says. "We just came home from the hospital, so it's definitely not somewhere that we want to go back to.”  

She says it’s important to inform adults about preventing RSV. 

“People don't know what it is, so if you educate them, then they understand that it's important to wash your hands and not kiss my baby.” 

It’s just as important to educate children. 

“I try to keep my 5-year-old from kissing her too much even though he's so in love with her," Gerbrandt says. "But we don't want to bring the school germs home and get her sick,” she says. “Educating a 5-year-old is a little more challenging but he's getting it. He's washing his hands, maybe only kissing her half the time he normally would want to, so it's a challenge, but we're getting there.” 

The Canadian Pediatric Society says common symptoms of RSV include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing/wheezing, and difficulty breathing. 

In infants younger than 6 months old, the only symptoms that are likely to occur are irritability, decreased activity, decreased appetite, and apnea.  

Gerbrandt asks everyone to be mindful moving forward in their interactions with babies. 

“I don't want my baby to end up back in the hospital, so just please wash your hands, please keep your lips off of her. You know, babies in the hospital... it's not fun. You don't want to watch your kid suffering, not being able to breathe.”