I have become lucky enough to earn the title as the aunt of the cutest little one who has graced this world. Spending time with her is one of my favorite things to do. Whenever she sticks out her tongue or smiles back at me, I can't help but do the same back to her.
Being her aunt is something I am so proud of, and my time with her is never enough. I do not know if I ever could get tired of spending time with my niece, and being around such a young child makes me worry about her health and safety.
I never really understood Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, until I became an aunt, and by no means am I an expert in this virus. I remember seeing posts on Facebook about "Please don't kiss my baby", due to the fact of spreading RSV. This never seemed super relevant to me because even though I love kids, I was never heavily around babies and young children until I became an aunt.
I would do anything for her. She is as cute as a button and has me wrapped around her little fingers. Knowing that I can make her sick and can really hurt her by spreading a virus scares me, but the thing is we can our part of keeping little ones safe.
RSV symptoms can resemble a simple cold and start in the upper respiratory system. The problem is, this virus can do a lot more damage to a child, especially when they are 6 months old or younger or have preexisting health issues like a weakened immune system. This virus can spread to the lower respiratory system in the children and can make it extremely hard for them to breathe.
RSV season starts in September, and the peak seasons start in the winter. This coincides with cold weather, higher chances of cold and flu season, and being indoors a lot more with other people. These variables can build up to bad things for little ones.
How can we prevent this? How can we take care of little ones but still show them our love and care? These are questions I constantly think of because I want to cuddle and love my little niece, but not make her sick either at the same time.
First, listen to their parent's requests. If they ask you not to kiss their baby, actually listen and try your best to not kiss them as much as you'd like. Show those little ones you love them by trying your best to keep them healthy, even if that means you aren't as physically close to them.
Washing your hands can be an easy first step to help prevent the spread of RSV and so many other viruses as well. One major thing to consider is if you feel sick, even if it is just a runny nose, try not to be around the child. Trying to take care of yourself by yourself can mean the difference between a healthy child or a very sick child.
I could never imagine anything bad happening to my little niece, but knowing that I could help protect her and keep her healthy motivates me to constantly kissing her or increasing the chances of getting her sick. We have the power to reduce the spread of disease to young ones who have weaker immune systems and may have not had their vaccines yet.
So please, respect the parent's wishes and resist the urge to kiss a baby as much as you can. Wash your hands, and we can make sure we protect the future of our world one RSV season at a time.