Medical City Healthcare - December 10, 2018

RSV is a highly contagious virus responsible for many respiratory infections in infants and children, including the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, croup and bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is the leading cause of hospitalizations in infants under 12 months old.

How to tell if it's RSV.

According to the CDC, RSV symptoms typically appear in stages and not all at once. RSV symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decreased appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Most children will have had RSV by the time they turn two. Typically, RSV infections clear up on their own after a week or two. To relieve mild symptoms, you can give your baby over-the-counter pain and fever medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Ask your pediatrician about non-prescription cold medicines, since some medications are not recommended for children.

When to go to the ER for RSV.

If what you thought was a harmless cold turns into something more, don't hesitate to seek medical advice and treatment. If your baby shows any of these signs, you should head straight to the ER.

  • Difficult, labored, shallow or rapid breathing
  • Skin turning blue (especially lips and fingernails)
  • Dehydration (decrease in wet diapers)

How to prevent RSV.

It makes sense to keep infants away from sick people. Some doctors and hospitals are going so far as to recommend parents keep newborns away from everyone, including family members, for a short period of time. Check with your delivery hospital and/or pediatrician to see what they suggest.

Handwashing is still the best way to prevent the spread of germs, so make sure everyone who holds your new baby washes their hands thoroughly.

Older kids (and adults) should also learn the correct way to cough and sneeze without infecting others.

If you’e not sure whether your baby has RSV or one of its complications, always err on the side of caution and seek medical treatment. When you have an emergency, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered.

Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.

At Medical City Healthcare, we’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you’ll Take Care!

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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Revised 11/11/2019

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