Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Respiratory syncytial virus is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at RSV in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, usually causes cold-like symptoms but can also cause more severe diseases, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

In children, RSV infections may start out with fever, mild cough and congestion. This can lead to worsening cough and labored and rapid breathing that interfere with the ability to eat and drink.

The infection spreads by contact with an infected persons saliva and mucus containing the virus.

Initial treatment is to treat the symptoms. If symptoms do not improve, doctors might use nebulized treatments of epinephrine or albuterol.

Concentrated oxygen may be given through plastic tubing if the child is found to have low levels of oxygen in the blood.

Antiviral medications or corticosteroids are not recommended for routine use in infants and children.

Many children recover within 7 days, but the illness can persist for several weeks.

Children can get RSV infections every year or several times in one season. However, as they grow older, the symptoms usually are not as severe.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.