What is RSV?
Each year, RSV results in an estimated 2.1 million outpatient visits, 57,000 hospitalizations, and 14,000 deaths worldwide.
The respiratory syncytial virus causes infections in people of all ages. The virus causes inflammation in the lungs and airways, leading to severe respiratory illness in infants and young children. It also causes bronchiolitis and pneumonia (lung infection) in children under one year of age.
There are two types of RSV: A and B. Most RSV disease is caused by type A; however, type B can also cause severe respiratory illness, particularly in infancy.
RSV is contagious and spreads through direct contact with an infected person or touching contaminated surfaces. People with RSV are most contagious the first 3 to 8 days after they develop symptoms. Symptoms of RSV include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Why Your Child should be Tested for RSV
In most cases, RSV symptoms are mild and often clear after a while. However, in some cases, RSV can lead to more severe problems. A few RSV complications can occur in young children, seniors, and people with weak immunity.
Pneumonia is the most severe complication of RSV and can be life-threatening in young children. Other possible RSV complications include:
- Bronchiolitis. This is a swelling and inflammation of the smallest air passages in the lungs
- Ear infections.
Seeking urgent care in Houston immediately if you notice these RSV symptoms is essential. A doctor may recommend testing for RSV if your child has severe symptoms or is at risk for complications from the virus.
What are the Symptoms of RSV?
Most children with RSV will have a mild to moderate cold with some or all of the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Fever (usually low-grade)
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
In more severe cases, children may also experience the following:
- Strenuous breathing (using their stomach muscles to help them breathe)
- Rapid breathing
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin)
- Refusal to feed
When to Visit the ER with RSV?
The RSV and cold flu symptoms are similar, but the virus can be more serious for babies and young children.
If your child has any symptoms of RSV, such as trouble breathing or swallowing, fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), or bluish skin coloration, you should go to the ER immediately if it’s after hours.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing severe complications from RSV.
How is RSV Treated?
RSV is a respiratory syncytial virus that primarily affects children and can be fatal. It can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing. Symptoms of RSV include fever, runny nose, cough, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. The virus is most contagious in the winter and spreads through contact with droplets.
There is no specific cure for RSV and no vaccine to prevent it. The RSV treatment primarily focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing respiratory complications.
There are three main treatments for RSV:
- Antiviral medications
- Bronchodilator medications
- Rest & fluids
Your child may require hospitalization if they have breathing difficulty or trouble eating or drinking. In severe cases, RSV can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which may require immediate treatment with oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
Most children recover from RSV within a week or two, but some may experience wheezing or other respiratory problems later in life. If your child has a chronic condition such as asthma, heart disease, or lung disease, they may be at risk for more severe complications from RSV and should get prompt care as soon as possible if they develop symptoms.
How to Prevent the Spread of RSV
RSV is preventable, and you can do that by:
- Clean your hands frequently
- Avoid close contact with an infected person
- Disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated with respiratory secretions
- Avoiding sharing cups, eating utensils, toys
- Please stay up to date on your child’s immunizations, as this can help reduce their risk of contracting RSV
Schedule an Appointment
Visit NeuMed Modern Urgent Care for more information about RSV, its causes, treatment, and prevention.