Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that can affect people of all ages, but the infection is more common in children and infants.
For many healthy adults and children, an RSV infection causes symptoms similar to those of a cold. In infants, an RSV infection can be more serious.
The infection usually does not cause serious damage, but in severe cases, it can lead to serious lung complications.
RSV is one of the most common viruses that cause lung and respiratory tract infections in infants and young children.
Symptoms of RSV
Depending on your age, the severity of RSV infection and the symptoms you experience may vary.
Symptoms usually appear within 4 to 6 days of contracting the virus. Older individuals usually have milder symptoms such as congestion or fever. Children younger than 1 year have the most serious symptoms.
Common symptoms of an RSV infection in both adults and children include:
Less common symptoms include:
Wheezing in breathing
Difficult, short or rapid breathing
Beautiful blue skin
Usually, these are only seen with more severe infections, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
RSV is a viral infection that can be spread through close contact with someone who has it. If you are standing next to someone with RSV and they cough or sneeze, there is a chance that you will get the virus.
It is also possible to get the virus by touching something, such as a toy or a doorknob, that has recently been touched by someone who has the virus.
Complications related to RSV
In addition to increasing the risk of more serious infections, children with more severe cases of RSV may develop ear infections and corup, which is an inflammation and swelling of the vocal cords. This causes a loud sound when they cough.
Children who develop bronchiolitis as a result of RSV may have a higher risk of developing asthma, although the cause is not clear.
Most children with RSV have few complications. The infection passes in 1 or 2 weeks.
In very severe cases of RSV, an individual may need to be hospitalized and may need supplemental oxygen, either through a nasal cannula tube or a tube inserted down the throat and connected to a ventilator.
Since RSV is a virus, it cannot be treated with medications such as antibiotics. In most people, especially older children, the symptoms of RSV are similar to those of a cold or flu. In many of these people, the RSV infection will resolve without treatment.
Getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help children recover. Over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers may also help. It is important to pay attention to the recommended dose.
Regular clearing of mucus from the nose can relieve congestion in babies and toddlers. Nasal drops can also loosen mucus and aid in the inhalation process.
Very young babies may need to be hospitalized if they need breathing support.