Your baby has RSV when should you Take them to the hospital?

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If your child has been diagnosed with RSV (respiratory synctial virus), clinical indications to take the child to the ER are: 1. was a former premie 2. is displaying a respiratory rate of > 50 breaths a minute 3. is manifesting great effort in breathing by having the chest/neck muscles cave in with each inspiration 4. is grunting or, 5. the baby looks sicker than you are comfortable with.
For our 3 month old born full term diagnosed with RSV, there were a few additional indicators he was in respiratory distress that we wish our dr had told us to look for. Firstly, he got lethargic and a bit limp - a sure sign that he was not getting enough oxygen. We mistook this for him just being tired because he did shortly thereafter fall asleep. But in hindsight we now know his O2Sat rate was probably dangerously low. Though we didn't know it, puting our baby to bed put him at further at risk because O2 naturally drops even further when you sleep anyway.
In addition to having more than 50 breaths a minute (which you can assess by putting your hand on his belly to count - hard to do if, as in our case, baby is coughing a lot) our baby's entire belly was caving in with each breath. Watch baby's belly button and see if it goes up and down sharply with each breath to know if he is having to work too hard to get air. You may also see his ribs with each inhalation.
If you have any doubt, don't be scared to go to the ER, preferably a children's hospital if you have one nearby, as an adult hospital is not as equiped to handle infants. They should check his O2 and pulse rate, and put him on O2 if it's low. If they don't admit him but his o2 is dropping and staying in the 80's. either go somewhere else or get them to write an RX for O2 at home.
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