What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?
RSV is a common virus that causes mild cold or flu-like symptoms in most people. It can also be very dangerous for newborns and young children, as well as those with weakened immune systems, as the illness can progress to pneumonia. If you suspect your child has RSV, watch closely for worsening symptoms, seen below.
When to Seek Medical Care
It is not necessary to have a test for RSV. It is not treated with antibiotics. If your child is doing okay with breathing and taking fluids, an appointment is not necessary. Use the comfort measures outlined below.
Contact your pediatrician when your child has a fever of 103°F or higher, a fever that lasts more than 3 days, or signs of an ear infection. Make an appointment when symptoms don’t improve after 7 days.
Patients should seek immediate care if they experience labored breathing; shallow or rapid breaths; wheezing; dehydration (may include a decrease in wet diapers); when lips, tongue, or skin turn gray or blue; or a significant decrease in activity or alertness. It is not necessary to go to urgent care of ER for mild symptoms.
How Can I Make My Child More Comfortable?
While there is no prescriptive treatment for RSV, you can make the child more comfortable with supportive, over-the-counter products. Remedies include acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for kids over 6 months of age) for fever and aches, saline nose spray and gentle suction for nasal irritation, plenty of fluids for necessary hydration, and warm soups for nutrition.
How Can I Protect My Family From RSV?
The best ways to prevent RSV are the same ways we prevent COVID-19, flu, and other seasonal illnesses:
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Wash hands often
- Consider wearing a mask (ages 2+) in crowded indoor places
- Clean and disinfect surfaces people touch frequently
- Stay up to date on all vaccines, like the flu shot and COVID-19 booster shots
- For infants, avoid frequent visitors and crowds
What to Do if You’re Worried About Your Child
If you’re concerned with your child’s symptoms, give us a call at 1-833-PDX-KIDS (1-833-739-5437). Our advice nurses are also available to support you 24 hours a day. Metro Pediatrics offers same-day sick visits on a first-come basis and schedules those appointments up to 24 hours in advance. Your child’s health is our top priority, and we’ll do everything we can to help them feel better.