RSV is the common term for respiratory syncytial virus, which affects nearly all children under two with cold-like symptoms. In premature infants and babies with immune deficiencies, though, RSV can develop into a severe case that requires hospitalization.
- Cold symptoms like cough, stuffy/runny nose, earaches and fever
- Fussiness in infants, reduced hunger
- Wheezing or breathing difficulty in severe cases
Who is at risk?
Almost all children under two years old will get RSV. Preemies and children with immune problems are at a higher risk of complications. People over 65, especially those with heart or lung problems, are highly susceptible as well.
Only a physician can diagnose RSV. Most cases of RSV pass like a common cold, but it’s important to watch symptoms especially in kids with a weakened immune system before they escalate into pneumonia or worse.
Treatment for general cases usually includes proper hydration, pain or fever reducers, raising the head and shoulders with pillows and sometimes antibiotics in the event an ear infection sets in. Support for respiratory complications will be key.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
Get emergency help if the patient has difficulty breathing, speaking or crying. Watch the patient inhale and see if they are lifting the shoulders or flaring the nostrils. Check the skin for discoloration (gray, mottled or blue) indicating a respiratory problem.
In general, consult a physician if the patient has a history of immune problems, especially if symptoms worsen over 24 hours. Never take a baby or small child that is having severe respiratory difficulty to the emergency department in your own vehicle. Call 911 and let the experts monitor their airway during transport.
Treatment for RSV is available now at Omni-Med in Florham Park, NJ.
For more information on RSV, see the following websites:
RSV Overview by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Pediatrics with RSV Prevention Policy
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