RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a respiratory virus that leads to symptoms similar to a bad cold and is especially common among children, affecting the eyes, lungs, throat, and nose. RSV is also extremely contagious – most children will have it at least once by their second birthday.
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An RSV infection typically runs its course within 10 days and usually isn’t something for parents to be worried about; however, complications from RSV can be more severe, especially in very young children, and can lead to pneumonia and bronchiolitis – sometimes the illness can even require hospitalization.
If your child is exhibiting regular cold-like symptoms, the best thing to do is keep him or her home from school or daycare throughout the progression of the illness to keep it from spreading to others.
At-home treatment would include controlling the fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and taking measures to improve your child’s ability to breathe.
With the potential for the illness to lead to hospitalization in young patients, however, it’s important to know when to take your child to the doctor if the illness progresses.
McFarland Clinic Pediatricians recommend the following criteria for seeking medical attention when your child exhibits cold-like symptoms:
Parents hoping to keep their children healthy can practice the basic disease prevention tactics: getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting an adequate amount of Vitamin D3, and washing hands.
Since it’s easy for adults to contract RSV and pass the virus on to infants and children – who are likely to get a more serious version of the illness – it’s best for parents to avoid having their children in contact with any adult or child who is ill.