Respiratory syncytial virus is a viral illness that can cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Children under the age of one who are infected with RSV are more likely to develop bronchiolitis, inflamation of the lower airway, and, in some cases, pneumonia.
Symptoms of RSV include lethargy and irritability, loss of appetite, fever, cough, wheezing, rattling in the child’s chest, and episodes of apnea (when a child stops breathing for 10 seconds or more).
A pediatrician will examine your child and listen to their breathing to determine if they have RSV.
Since RSV is a virus, antibiotics are not effective in its treatment. Most of the time, RSV can be treated at home. A small percentage of children may need to be hospitalized for closer monitoring and care.
Children six months or younger, or with other health problems, are most at risk for developing severe cases of RSV. It is critically important to seek medical attention if you notice that your child is having any difficulty breathing or changes in color.