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RSV in Infants


RSV symptoms in infants can include:
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Wheezing.
Severe lower respiratory tract disease can also occur in infants with this virus. If severe symptoms of RSV occur, an infant can experience:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to get enough oxygen
  • Rapid breathing
  • A bluish or purplish tinge to skin.

The Season for RSV

RSV infections usually occur during annual community outbreaks, which often last four to six months, during the late fall, winter, or early spring months (November through April). The timing and severity of outbreaks in a community vary from year to year.

Diagnosing Infant RSV

In order to make an RSV diagnosis in an infant, the doctor will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam, including listening to the lungs with a stethoscope. In infants, an RSV diagnosis can be suspected based on severe illness during an outbreak of RSV in the community.

Treatment for RSV

There is no treatment that will kill RSV. Therefore, treatment goals focus on treating symptoms as the body fights the RSV.

Prognosis for Infant RSV

During their first RSV infection, between 25 percent and 40 percent of infants and young children have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) or pneumonia, and 0.5 percent to 2 percent require hospitalization. The majority of children hospitalized for an RSV infection are under six months of age. Most children recover from RSV in 8 to 15 days.
Reinfection with RSV is common. When an infant or child has another RSV infection, the symptoms tend to be milder.
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