Conditions

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is a common respiratory infection that leads to bronchiolitis. It’s a condition that affects a third of babies and children under two in the UK. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold and include a runny nose, coughing, ear infection, sore throat and a fever. The virus causes airways in the lungs, called bronchioles, to swell up and become clogged with mucus, which in turn makes breathing difficult.

The RSV infection usually lasts three to five days. Like the common cold, it’s passed through coughs and sneezes, or through handling something which has been in contact with those infected. And, like the cold, RSV is more common in the winter.

Most kids will be able to fight the infection off naturally, but for babies born prematurely or with lung disease, heart disease, cystic fibrosis or other immune problems, it can be more serious. The signs that your baby has developed more serious symptoms include faster than normal breathing, dehydration, not feeding, general tiredness or stopping breathing for short periods of time (this is called apnoea). Cases like this are rare, but if your baby does display any of these symptoms, he or she may require a short period of hospital treatment.

Though RSV is common, there’s no specific cure. Doctors will not usually prescribe antibiotics, as these are not effective against viral infections. If you know the virus is doing the rounds, try and keep your baby away from those infected, and if they do catch it, keep them away from others. You can also help prevent infection by keeping hands clean, using tissues and disposing of them straight after use, keeping your baby warm and not exposing them to cigarette smoke. Liquid paracetamol, available from chemists without prescription can also help ease some of the virus’s fever-like symptoms.

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since my baby was born shes had problems with her breathing, she always sounds very chesty and has a constant cough, also seems to have problems breathing through her nose and is a very heavy breather and snores very loud. when she was born they said she was a very mucusy baby and there was nothing they could do and it would just pass in time,(i have mentioned her breathing and my concerns to various health care proffesionals)but last week i took her to the doctors about this and the doctor said my baby had rsv virus (bronchilitus) but if this was true she has had it for over 10 weeks. does anyone know what this could be and how i can help her, im at the end of my witts. thankyou





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My 3 year old son has constant chest infections. Several times a year he is on antibiotics. He almost constantly has a runny nose and a temperature. Almost every day he as Calpol etc. He now has an ear infection after having antibiotics in March and April. Any ideas as he is not a happy little boy





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Bronchiolitis is a common lower respiratory tract infection that affects babies and young children. The early symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, such as a runny nose and cough. As bronchiolitis develops, it can cause: Read More »