Know How to Protect Your Child

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects the nose, throat, windpipe, bronchi and bronchioles (air passages of the lungs).  The virus is so widespread that almost all children have had an RSV infection by the time they reach preschool.  RSV is carried on secretions.  It’s easy to catch and spread.  Usually it causes only cold-like symptoms in adults and older children.  The first signs of infection are usually a runny nose and a red throat.  Over the next couple of days, the child becomes sicker with a cough, wheezing and sometimes a low-grade fever or an ear infection.  There may be a lot of nasal drainage.

Most children get better by themselves.  Some babies and young children will get sicker.  This can happen quickly.  Contact your doctor if your infant or child has breathing that becomes faster (more than 40 to 60 breaths/minute), has trouble breathing or has irritability/restlessness.  If your infant or child has breathing pauses of 10 to 15 seconds or longer, seek emergency help.

–Source:  University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital