Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that usually affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Most RSV infections are not serious in older children and adults, but babies and young children may be at risk for severe disease.
RSV infections in the US are most common from November to April.
Symptoms may include:
RSV infection can also cause lung infections.
Some babies and small children may have so much trouble breathing that they don't eat well.
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Samples of mucus from your child’s nose may be tested for the virus.
Because RSV is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics will not help treat RSV.
Some babies may need extra oxygen and treatment at the hospital. If your child is vomiting and unable to eat or drink, he may need IV fluids.
RSV illness usually lasts 7 to 21 days.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:
Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
RSV is such a common virus that it’s almost impossible to keep your child from being exposed to it. One thing you can do is make sure that people wash their hands before holding your child. Also, try to keep your baby away from people with cold symptoms.
There is no vaccine that can prevent RSV. However, babies born very prematurely or babies with certain types of heart or lung diseases may be given a shot every month during the winter and spring. The shot contains antibodies that fight RSV. Antibodies are the proteins your immune system usually makes to fight infections, such as the flu and measles. The immune system is your body’s defense against infection. The antibodies can help prevent a more severe infection.