Posts Tagged ‘RSV’

What do you need to know about respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Almost all babies get it before the age of 2. Your baby can get RSV at any time of year, but it’s most common from November to April.

Signs and symptoms of RSV

For most healthy children, signs and symptoms of RSV are similar to those of a cold and can last about two weeks. They can include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sluggish or being inactive
  • Wheezing or having trouble breathing

Some babies have a high risk of getting severe RSV. This includes premature babies and babies with lung problems, heart problems and other chronic illnesses. Severe RSV may lead to other serious infections, like:

  • Bronchiolitis, an infection that causes swelling in the smallest air passages in the lungs
  • Pneumonia, an infection in one or both lungs

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age.

Call your baby’s health care provider right away if your baby:

  • Has a cough that gets worse, or she coughs up yellow, green or gray mucus
  • Has a fever higher than 100.4 F if your baby is younger than 2 months, higher than 101F if your baby is 3 to 6 months old or higher than 103F if your baby is older than 6 months
  • Looks dehydrated. This means your baby doesn’t have enough water in his body. Your baby may be dehydrated if he has fewer tears when crying or sunken eyes or if he urinates less frequently.
  • Isn’t hungry
  • Has a thick nasal discharge
  • Has trouble breathing or her mouth and fingernails look blue

Prevent the spread of RSV

You can help protect your baby from RSV by:

  • Keeping your baby away from people who are sneezing or coughing
  • Making sure everyone who touches your baby has clean hands
  • Keeping your baby away from crowds of people
  • Not letting anyone to smoke near your baby

Babies who are at high risk of severe RSV may get medicine that helps prevent RSV from becoming severe. Your baby may get this medicine called palivizumab during the fall and winter months. The medicine doesn’t cure RSV, and it’s not used to treat children who already have severe RSV or to prevent mild RSV. If your baby is at high risk for severe RSV, talk to her provider about treating your baby with palivizumab.

Treatment for RSV

There is no specific treatment for RSV. If your baby has RSV, you can help relieve symptoms by making sure she gets extra rest and drinks lots of fluids. You can use a rubber suction bulb to help clear mucus from her nose. And use a cool-mist humidifier to help your baby breathe more easily. If your baby has a fever, talk to her provider about using acetaminophen.

For more information about RSV and other health conditions, visit

RSV refresher

Friday, September 28th, 2012

baby_sickbabycare3It is the beginning of fall and soon winter will follow. And that means cold season is right around the corner. But when you have a premature baby sometimes those sniffles can mean more than just the common cold. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms in adults and older children. In fact, almost all babies get it before the age of 2. But it can have serious consequences for high-risk infants.

Certain babies are at risk for severe RSV and complications from the infection, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Premature infants, babies who were born at low birthweight and babies with heart or lung disease are all at increased risk. It is especially important for parents of these infants to be aware of the signs and symptoms of RSV. These include:
• Persistent coughing or wheezing (Do not give over-the-counter cough and cold products to infants and children younger than 4 years of age. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these medications can have serious and life-threatening side effects.)
• Rapid, difficult or gasping breaths
• Blue color of the lips, around the mouth or under the fingernails
• A fever of more than 100.4° F

RSV spreads easily through touching, kissing, sneezing, and coughing. It can live for hours on hard surfaces, such as countertops, and even in used tissues. There are some simple steps parents and caregivers can take to minimize their baby’s exposure to RSV. The main thing to do is wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. Make sure everyone who touches your baby has clean hands. Keep your baby away from crowds of people. Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and don’t share cups, spoons and forks with others.

Babies who are at highest risk from RSV (including babies born at or before 32 weeks of pregnancy) may benefit from medication that helps prevent the infection. This medication is called palivizumab (Synagis). It is given in monthly injections during the fall and winter months. Make sure you discuss this with your baby’s health care provider.
For more information, you can visit RSV Protection.

Note: The March of Dimes does not endorse specific brands or products.