Respiratory syncytial virus infection

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The respiratory syncytial virus infection is a severe case of common cold. This condition causes the same symptoms and highly contagious in nature. Most children have at least acquired one by reaching 2 years old.

Luckily, the condition is not an issue for concern but it can lead to pneumonia or other issues especially among infants. Due to this, it is important to monitor the symptoms and get in touch with a doctor if they worsen.

What are the causes?

A virus is responsible for causing respiratory syncytial virus infection. Just like with the cold virus, the condition mainly attacks the nose, throat, eyes and lungs. It spreads in the same manner as cold such as sneezing, coughing or sharing food.

There are various strains which is why the body could not develop immunity. One can acquire the condition throughout life, oftentimes during the same season.

Indications of respiratory syncytial virus infection

  • Cough
  • Runny or stuffed nose
  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Mild sore throat

Among infants with the condition, they might also have the following:

  • Fussiness or crankiness
  • Poor energy level
  • Diminished appetite

In some children, they develop serious symptoms such as wheezing. A doctor must be consulted if the child is wheezing or has difficulty breathing.

Management

The condition eventually settles on its own. In most cases, treatment at home is enough.

  • Raise the head of the child to make it easier to breath and sleep.
  • Suction the nose of an infant if he/she could not breath well enough to sleep or eat.
  • Lower down fever with ibuprofen or acetaminophen if needed. Avoid giving aspirin to children since it can lead to Reye syndrome.

If an individual with RSV is healthy, the symptoms typically settle in a week or two.

It is important to note that respiratory syncytial virus infection can become serious if the symptoms are severe or if it triggers other health issues such as pneumonia. Those who are likely to develop complications include:

  • Infants younger than 6 months old especially those born prematurely
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • Individuals with immune system issues
  • Those with lung or heart conditions

These groups oftentimes require treatment in a healthcare facility. The symptoms should be closely monitored and if they worsen, consult a doctor right away.

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