There are a lot of different viruses starting to go around! One of the viruses I’m seeing a lot of these days is RSV. Check out these FAQs below to find out more about it!

What is RSV?

RSV stands for “Respiratory Syncytial Virus.” It typically causes a mild, cold-like illness, but in some babies and kids it can cause Bronchiolitis, which is when the virus causes mucus build up in the lung.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

Typical symptoms are nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, and fever. Symptoms are usually worse around day 4-5 and then start improving. The cough can linger for a couple of weeks.

How is RSV diagnosed?

RSV is confirmed by a nasal swab; however, it is not necessary to obtain a nasal swab. The diagnosis of RSV can be made by the medical history, time of year, and physical exam.

What is the treatment for RSV?

The treatment for RSV is supportive care, which means just managing the symptoms.

Antibiotics do not treat RSV.

Since RSV can cause a lot of mucus build up, the best thing you can do is suction, suction, suction!

I recommend using a NoseFrida, as you can typically get a lot more snot out with that versus a bulb suction.

Put 1-2 saline drops in their nose and suction prior to feeds and sleep.

Also make sure to keep you child hydrated with fluids like Pedialyte.

Even if they don’t drink as much as they normally do, as long as they’re drinking enough to have 2-3 wet diapers/voids per day, that should keep them hydrated enough.

What are possible complications?

The two biggest complications are low oxygen levels and dehydration.

If there is a lot of mucus build up in the lungs, it can interfere with oxygen exchange so some babies need a little bit of oxygen to help them through it.
The nasal congestion and mucus can also make it difficult to drink bottles and breathe at the same time, so some babies can get dehydrated.
It all boils down to the mucus build up in the lungs.

If your baby/child looks like they are working hard to breathe (rapid/shallow breathing, caving-in of chest in between ribs or under the ribs, nostrils flaring, grunting with breaths, mouth/lips turning blue), or they aren’t drinking enough to have at least 2-3 wet diapers/voids per day, take them to an Emergency Department as soon as possible.