Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, particularly in young children and older adults. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about RSV with a search online right now.
While most cases of RSV are mild and similar to the common cold, some cases can lead to more severe illnesses, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Knowing what to expect and when to become concerned is critical.
Symptoms of RSV typically appear within four to six days of exposure to the virus. Common signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, cough, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. In some cases, RSV can cause more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, bluish color on the lips or face, and lethargy. If your child is experiencing any of these severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
RSV is typically diagnosed through a physical exam, including a review of the child’s symptoms and medical history. In some cases, a doctor may order additional tests such as a nasal swab to confirm the diagnosis.
There is currently no specific treatment for RSV, but in most cases, symptoms will improve on their own within one to two weeks. Treatment typically focuses on managing symptoms, such as using a humidifier or saline drops to relieve congestion, and ensuring the child gets plenty of rest and fluids. In some cases, a doctor may recommend medication to help with symptoms, such as acetaminophen to reduce fever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. The best way to prevent RSV is through good hygiene practices, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with those who are sick. There is currently no vaccine available for RSV, although a medication called palivizumab is available for children who are at high risk of developing severe RSV illness, such as those born prematurely or with certain heart or lung conditions.
When to See a Doctor
If your child is experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or lethargy, seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to see a doctor if your child is under three months old and has a fever or other symptoms of illness.