RSV is short for respiratory syncytial virus infection. It causes the same symptoms as a bad cold. And like a cold, it is very common and spreads easily. Most children have had it at least once by age 2.
There are many kinds of RSV, so your child's body never becomes immune to it. Your child can get it again and again throughout his or her life, sometimes during the same season.
RSV attacks your child's nose, eyes, throat, and lungs. It spreads when your child coughs, sneezes, or shares food or drinks.
RSV can make it hard for a child to breathe. It is important to watch the symptoms, especially in babies.
Symptoms of RSV include:
Babies with RSV may also have no energy, act fussy or cranky, and be less hungry than usual. Some children have more serious symptoms, like wheezing or trouble breathing. Call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is wheezing or having trouble breathing.
It is very hard to keep from catching RSV, just like it is hard to keep from catching a cold. But you can lower the chances by practicing good health habits. Wash your hands often, and teach your child to do the same. See that your child gets all the vaccines your doctor recommends.
Home treatment is usually all that is needed:
When a child with RSV is otherwise healthy, symptoms usually get better in a week or two.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
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