What to Know?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that spreads from person to person, similar to the common cold, and occurs most often during the late Fall to early Spring seasons.
In most children, symptoms resemble a cold or “upper respiratory tract infection” and can include:
- Runny and/or stuffy nose
- Fussiness or poor feeding in infants
Treatment is based on symptoms, as medications like antibiotics and steroids do not help to treat RSV.
In some cases, RSV can spread lower to the chest/lungs, leading to a more severe illness called Bronchiolitis and, in some cases, respiratory distress requiring hospitalization.
Bronchiolitis symptoms may include:
- Rapid breathing
- Heavy/deep breathing where they use their abdomen or are sucking in hard enough to see the ribs
- Rhythmic or musical grunting sound while breathing
- Flaring of the nostrils and/or bobbing the head
- Pauses or difficulty breathing
- Pale, grey, or blue color of mouth, skin, or tongue
- Significant decrease in activity or signs of dehydration (less than 1 wet diaper every 8 hours)
You should seek immediate medical care if your child develops any of
RSV Bronchiolitis is the leading cause of hospitalizations for children under 1 year old. Treatment in the hospital may include oxygen, IV fluids, and close monitoring.
- Hand washing, avoiding crowds and anyone with cold symptoms, as well as limiting unnecessary exposure to other children during the RSV season can decrease the risk of exposure.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke exposure may also decrease severity and length of RSV symptoms.
- Infants under 8 months of age and toddlers at high risk of severe infection may benefit from certain preventative treatments, including a newly FDA-approved immunization.
- Speak with your pediatrician about the availability of these preventative treatments and if they are right for your child.