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Topic: Diseases & Conditions

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about RSV. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus. RSV is the most frequent cause of colds and breathing problems during the winter in children under the age of three years. Children under one year of age with RSV symptoms should be seen by their doctor. In older children and adults RSV may be very mild, like a cold.

With RSV you may see any or all of the following:
• nasal stuffiness and runny nose (more than a regular cold)
• cough
• difficult or rapid breathing
• wheezing
• low grade fever (up to 100°F)
• poor appetite

RSV can be spread to other children and adults. A person becomes infected by close contact with another infected person or their secretions. To reduce the spread of infection, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly each time you come into contact with the secretions. Immediately throw away any used tissues. Do not save tissues for a second use even on the same child. Do not allow children to share toys while infected. Even if your child has had RSV before he/she can catch it again. However, the symptoms will probably be much milder than the first time. If your child has a chronic lung illness like asthma or BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) this may not be true.

The first RSV infection in an infant or young child may be serious. Your child may need to go to the hospital. In the hospital your child may be given respiratory or breathing treatments. These treatments may help to open the airways and move mucous (secretions) up and out of the lungs.

Symptoms may last for up to two weeks after discharge from the hospital. There are several things you can do to help your child be more comfortable. You can use normal saline nose drops to loosen nasal secretions and a bulb syringe to help remove secretions from nose. If the air at home is dry, a mist humidifier or cool mist vaporizer may be used to help your child breath easier. If your child has a fever you may use an acetaminophen product as directed by your doctor. Some products you may use are (Liquiprim®, Panadol®, Tempra®, and Tylenol®). DO NOT give aspirin or aspirin containing products. Encourage plenty of fluids. Do not worry if your child does not want to eat. Your child’s appetite should return as he/she gets better. For the next few days your child will need more rest than usual. You should limit your child’s

You should call your doctor whenever you are worried about your child. Be sure to call if:
• Your child seems to be getting worse in any way
• The congestion keeps your child from being able to sleep or drink
• If your child has difficult or rapid breathing
• Your child has a fever of 101°F or higher


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1995, 1998, 2000

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1995, 1998, 2000


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