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What You Need to Know About RSV

Guest Bio: Shana Teske, NP-C
Shana Teske, NP-C believes in providing her patients with holistic and compassionate care. Shana received both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville, IL. She then went on to pursue and complete her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. Shana is certified as a Pediatric nurse by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

In addition to her education, Shana is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.
    What You Need to Know About RSV
    Shana Teske, NP-C, leads a informative discussion on Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
    Transcription:

    Liz Healy (Host): Hello listeners. And thank you for tuning into the Well Within Reach podcast, brought to you by Riverside Healthcare. I'm your host, Liz Healey and joining me today is Shana Teske, who is an Advanced Practice Nurse in Family Medicine with our Riverside Medical Group. Thanks for joining us today, Shana.

    Shana Teske, APRN (Guest): Thank you for having me.

    Host: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to be an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner?

    Shana: So I used to work in pediatrics at St. Louis Children's Hospital, and I love treating children. And after I had my own child, I decided to move back to this area. And while working here, I decided to go back to school to further my education and kind of get a background in all ages.

    Host: Okay. Cool. So, working with children, something that I know I've heard from my sister-in-law talking when she had her kids, is RSV. So it's something that's very prevalent, especially during the fall time as we move into winter. Can you tell us a little bit about what RSV is and maybe some symptoms that might appear?

    Shana: Yeah, absolutely. So RSV is an acute respiratory illness. It is a very snotty and mucusy illness. So, you are definitely going to see a runny nose, a cough with that. Sometimes that mucus is so thick that there's vomiting that comes along with it. And children don't want to eat because of it. Trouble breathing and wheezing might come with that as well.

    Host: Okay, so it sounds kind of gross and like there's a lot of liquids that might need to cleaned up.

    Shana: Yes. Yes.

    Host: So I assume with it being kind of a virus that it's wildly contagious, is that

    Shana: Very contagious. Yes.

    Host: Okay. So how has it spread then?

    Shana: It is actually spread through mucus. So, any nasal drainage, discharge from the mouth or even the eyes.

    Host: Okay. Wow. Through the eyes, huh?

    Shana: Yes. Yes.

    Host: Who's most likely to be at risk to contract this virus?

    Shana: So any age can actually get this virus, but the most at risk are infants younger than six months of age.

    Host: Okay. So even myself as someone in my late twenties, I could even contract RSV?

    Shana: Correct. Yes.

    Host: Wow. Okay. If kids have it and the parents contract it, have you seen it go through a whole households?

    Shana: We have. I've had a patient who had it. Got it from siblings from school, then the younger sibling got it. And then dad got it.

    Host: Oh, wow so can just really bring down a whole household real fast. Oh, that's kind of scary. Why is it considered to be so serious when a young child is diagnosed, like an infant?

    Shana: So infants, they're are a lot smaller. So you got to think about it. Their airways are smaller, their lungs are smaller. And so when they have all that thick mucus, they have a harder time clearing it. So, sometimes that can kind of trap in their airway and cause breathing issues cause they can't clear that mucus, like older adults can with coughing or blowing their nose. So, when that happens, sometimes infants can aspirate a little bit of that mucus. They can get pneumonia, end up in the hospital, or even need some extra oxygen support.

    Host: Okay, so, you touched on it. So, hospitalization is a possibility. Okay. So are there complications that can come? Can it grow into something else?

    Shana: If it gets aspirated, and it becomes pneumonia, it can be a little more difficult to treat at that point. It could just be a viral pneumonia that you have to just wait it's course and treat symptoms, but it could become bacterial, depending on what else has gotten into their lungs when that's happened and need IV antibiotics. And then some kids even need to be intubated because their lungs are taking such a hit on the disease.

    Host: Okay. So are there long-term side effects of it?

    Shana: The long-term side effects is anybody can get it again and again. So I guess that's not really a long-term side effect, but yes, it can harm the lungs. And so, any time like respiratory season or different seasons come up, they can have a harder hit because their lungs are already damaged from the RSV. However, the damage isn't like a longterm complication though.

    Host: Okay. Okay. So, if you get it, are you more likely to get it again?

    Shana: I don't think there's really a difference in that. I think it just depends on who's in your household. If you're going to daycare, things like that, different access points to get it. But I have had somebody that had it and a month later, had it again, and it wasn't the same RSV virus. It was a mutation.

    Host: A mutation.

    Shana: Yeah.

    Host: Okay. Since RSV is a virus, I assume you can't use antibiotics for it. So, how would you treat it?

    Shana: So, RSV, you just treat the symptoms. So again, it's a very snotty virus, so lots of nasal suctioning if the child's too young to blow their nose. Blowing their nose, if they're old enough, hand-washing, no kissing, sharing utensils, things like that, that can spread the virus. When you do the suctioning sometimes for little kids, cause it's so thick that you can't get that nasal drainage out, that we use the saline drops, to kind of loosen up some of that mucus before we suction, fluids, rest, humidifier, Tylenol, ibuprofen as needed.

    Host: Okay, so you kind of touched on a few of the steps that we can take to prevent it, but are there any types of like medications or vaccines or shots or anything?

    Shana: Yeah. So no actual medications prescribed for RSV, but there is, it's not really considered a vaccine, but it's an injection that children can get. There are certain criteria you have to meet to get it. Typically being a preemie, having lung disease or chronic heart disease; but it's called Synagis. And during RSV season, you would actually get the injection once a month through the whole season to help prevent that.

    Host: Okay. So that's good to know if you do have a child that is more prone to respiratory issues, that to talk to your providers that. So I know another respiratory illness that's huge in the headlines is COVID. Are there some complications that come with COVID and RSV? Can you have both at the same time?

    Shana: So, you can definitely have both at the same time. But we haven't really been seeing a lot of complications of both of them, or like COVID making it worse for RSV or, and vice versa. However, because of the mask mandates, the social distancing and everything related to COVID, we weren't really seeing RSV for a little bit. And then when things got a little more relaxed and you could start going out more and not wear your mask in public, then we started seeing RSV earlier in the season than we typically would.

    Host: Okay. So what times a year do we normally see RSV?

    Shana: Yeah. So usually it starts in the spring and kind of goes through winter and fall. So it does have a large timeframe, but we started seeing it in the summer.

    Host: Okay. So that's definitely changes a little bit of a the planning for it. Is there anything else you'd like to add Shana?

    Shana: Yeah, so RSV, tends to be worse on day five. So you think about the start of symptoms, day five should be the worst. So, if you can kind of get through that day five, it should start to get better from there and lasts up about to two weeks, like any other virus typically does. And children under the age of one are most likely to get RSV, but again, it is a virus of all ages. So, make sure you're washing your hands, wearing your mask, refraining from kissing, suctioning often, and keeping your little ones hydrated.

    Host: Perfect. Thank you so much for giving us all this valuable information, kind of filling us in what RSV is. And thank you listeners for tuning into the Well Within Reach podcast with Shana Teske the NP, an Advanced Practice Nurse with our Riverside Medical Group, and myour host, Liz Healy. Are you looking for a primary care provider? Riverside has over 40 primary care providers to choose from, including Shana.

    Find a provider that fits your needs at myriversidedocs.com or by calling 855-404-DOCS. Again, that number is 855-404-3627.