Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Nov 9, 2022 | CHI St. Gabriel's Health News

The United States, including Minnesota and Morrison County, are seeing increased cases of RSV.

RSV is caused by respiratory syncytial virus. It is one of the many viruses that cause respiratory illnesses—illnesses of the nose, throat and lungs. This virus occurs in the late fall through early spring months. Almost all children will get RSV before they turn 2 years old.

Typically, RSV causes a cold, which may be followed by bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Symptoms usually last 5-7 days.

Cold symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fussiness
  • Poor feeding

Symptoms of bronchiolitis include the above cold symptoms, plus:

  • Fast breathing
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Head bobbing with breathing
  • Rhythmic grunting during breathing
  • Bell breathing, tugging between the ribs and/or the lower neck
  • Wheezing

Symptoms that prompt a visit to your child’s medical provider:

  • Symptoms of bronchiolitis
  • Symptoms of dehydration (fewer than 1 wet diaper every 8 hours)
  • Pauses or difficulty breathing
  • Gray or blue color to tongue, lips or skin
  • Significantly decreased activity and alertness

A doctor can diagnosis RSV during a clinical exam and testing. Only 3% of children with RSV require a hospital stay.

What can you do to help your child feel better if they have an infections with RSV?

  • There is no cure for RSV, and medications like steroids and antibiotics do not help with RSV
  • To help your child feel more comfortable you can try these things:
    • Nasal saline with gentle suctioning
    • Cool-mist humidifier
    • Increase fluids and try more frequent feedings
    • Ok to use acetaminophen and ibuprofen if child is older then 6 months

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