How to Care for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (Rsv) in Children

Four Methods:PreventionSymptomsTreatmentPrognosis

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common illness in young children but can also occur in adults. Almost all infants have had the virus by the time they are two-years-old. The virus is common during fall through spring. Approximately 125,000 children are hospitalized due to RSV. The estimated death rate is 1 to 2 percent of those children hospitalized. Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke, who are in the daycare setting, have older siblings or live in crowded conditions are at higher risk for developing RSV.

Method 1
Prevention

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    Wash hands before touching the baby. Insist hands be washed with warm water and soap.
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    Discourage personal contact if the person has a cold or fever.
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    Wear a face mask, if needed. Ask your doctor if this advisable.
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    Use caution when kissing as kissing does pass the RSV infection. Use your best judgement.
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    Keep young children away from your baby to help prevent the transfer of RSV.
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    Avoid smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes around the baby.
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    Avoid crowds if your child is a high risk baby. Check with your doctor to see if your baby is high risk.

Method 2
Symptoms

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    Heavy or labored breathing.
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    Croupy cough. The cough will sound like a seal bark.
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    Bluish color to the skin. This is called cyanosis.
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    Fever
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    Nasal flaring.
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    Rapid breathing.
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    Shortness of breath. Called SOB by some medical personnel.
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    Stuffy nose.
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    Wheezing.

Method 3
Treatment

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    See your doctor promptly if you suspect your child has RSV. A rapid test using nasal fluid can determine if your child has RSV.
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    Check with your doctor about the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually not used to treat RSV though.
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    Admission to a hospital maybe required for babies who have a severe form of the infection. During their hospital admission babies maybe put on a ventilator, receive oxygen, receive humidified air, and receive intravenous fluids.

Method 4
Prognosis

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    Most babies recover without problems.
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    Children who develop RSV bronchiolitis may have a higher risk of developing asthma.
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    Ear infections, lung failure and pneumonia are all possible complications of RSV.
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Tips

  • RSV is usually mild in older children and adults.

Warnings

  • Breathing difficulties are a true emergency. Call 9-1-1 or your medical provider for assistance.
  • Seek help if your child is showing symptoms of RSV.

Article Info

Categories: Childhood Health