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RSV

What is Respiratory syncytial virus?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. Respiratory syncytial virus can cause serious respiratory infections in young babies. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common respiratory pathogen in infants and young children.

How is Respiratory syncytial virus transmitted?

Respiratory syncytial virus is spread easily by physical contact. Transmission of Respiratory syncytial virus is usually by contact with contaminated secretions, which may involve tiny droplets, or objects that droplets have touched.

Touching, kissing, and shaking hands with an infected person can spread Respiratory syncytial virus. Respiratory syncytial virus can live for half an hour or more on hands. Respiratory syncytial virus can also live up to five hours on countertops and for several hours on used tissues.

Respiratory syncytial virus Statistics

  • Each year up to 125,000 infants are hospitalized due to severe Respiratory syncytial virus disease, and about 1-2% of these infants die.
  • Infants born prematurely, those with chronic lung disease, those who are immunocompromised, and those with certain forms of heart disease are at increased risk for severe Respiratory syncytial virus disease.

Symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus

Symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus vary according to the age of the patient. Infants less than one year old are most severely affected by Respiratory syncytial virus and often have the most trouble breathing. Older children usually have only mild, cold-like symptoms. Symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus usually appear 4-6 days after exposure.

Some of the common symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus are:

  • nasal congestion
  • nasal flaring
  • cough
  • rapid breathing
  • breathing difficulty or labored breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • cyanosis
  • wheezing
  • fever
  • croupy cough (often described as a "seal bark" cough)

Can Respiratory syncytial virus be Treated?

Treatment is usually designed to treat the symptoms. Mild infections of Respiratory syncytial virus resolve without treatment. A severe infection in infants and children may require hospitalization to provide supplemental oxygen, humidified air, and hydration by intravenous fluids. Respiratory support may be needed, using a breathing machine.

Your doctor will be the best judge as to what treatment to use. A medication to open the airways of the lungs is sometimes used. In very serious cases, antiviral may be prescribed.

Antibiotics do not help in the treatment of Respiratory syncytial virus

Complications of Respiratory syncytial virus

Some common complications of Respiratory syncytial virus are:

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