Guide to RSV Season

By Scott Newbold M D

RSV is a virus that can cause upper respiratory infections like colds, and lower respiratory tract infections like bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

​People of any age can get RSV, but in adults and children over age two it generally causes mild cold symptoms. RSV can be more serious in infants and babies. In children under age one, RSV is a common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia, and occasionally requires hospitalization.

RSV generally begins like a regular cold with symptoms that may include a cough, runny nose, fever, sleep apnea, or wheezing.
 
Most infants and children with RSV​ can be treated at home. The most effective course of treatment is suctioning the nose. I tell parents to get the biggest bulb syringe they can find. Put a few drops of water, breast milk, or saline in each nostril, wait a few seconds for the mucus to soften, and then use the bulb syringe to suction it out. 

Babies who still have difficulty breathing, who show signs of dehydration, who have ear pain, or who have a temperature of more than 102.5 degrees should be seen by a healthcare professional. Watch for signs that they are having difficulty breathing, including flaring of the nostrils, a purple tinge around the mouth, extreme paleness, grunting at the end of every breath, or using extra muscles to help breathe.

Your baby’s physician may refer you to the bronchiolitis clinic at Valley View Medical Center or Dixie Regional Medical Center. Caregivers at the clinic can provide breathing treatments. They evaluate each child and make a treatment plan that may include a return visit in a few hours, or, if oxygen levels continue to be low, admission to the hospital. The length of stay in the hospital is dictated by when the child no longer needs supplemental oxygen, and averages five days. Occasionally a child with RSV may need to be admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit or require a respirator.