Parents warned about serious RSV in babies and toddlers

(Ohio) – Local doctors are urging parents to watch out for the signs and symptoms of Respiratory syncytial virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Officials note that most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. In fact, the CDC indicates RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults.

Symptoms of RSV infection usually include

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Experts explain that the symptoms usually appear in states and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

Officials add that almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. And, doctors add that this is the time of year that they see the virus the most. RSV infections often happen in epidemics that last from late fall through early spring.

Highly Contagious adds that RSV is highly contagious, and spreads through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. It can also live on surfaces (such as countertops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing, so it is easily spread when a person touches something contaminated.

RSV Care adds that healthy infants and adults infected with RSV do not usually need to be hospitalized. But, some people with RSV infection, especially infants younger than 6 months of age and older adults, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing r are dehydrated.


Because RSV is highly contagious, officials encourage washing hands well and often as a key to stopping it. Try to wash your hands after having any contact with someone who has cold symptoms. And school-aged kids who have a cold should be kept away from any younger siblings – especially babies – until their symptoms pass.


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