RSV In Children: What Parents Should Know

RSV is the acronym for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and it usually peaks from November through March. It can be a dangerous virus for children younger than two years old and seniors. If you have a young child and especially one that was born premature, pay attention to the following information. RSV in children: what parents should know.

Child with RSV. The “Other” Virus

We saw a lot of RSV in the fall, but it is still circulating in the country and so may rise again locally, part of the three virus “tripledemic” (with COVID and Flu).

There are no medications to reduce symptoms or vaccines to prevent its spread. There is a preventative treatment (Synagis) that is only given to certain high-risk infants (and the NICU or Cardiologist order the medication). We strongly encourage both the Flu and COVID vaccines to prevent those illnesses. 

Most young children get RSV at least once before they are 2 years old, and healthy children recover and it passes like a cold. Unfortunately, others can end up in the hospital emergency room.

The most vulnerable include the following:

  • Premature and young infants
  • Children with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease
  • Adults over the age of 65

Symptoms of RSV and What You Should Know

Parents should be on the lookout for coughing, fever, runny or stuffy nose, and wheezing. Watch for signs that your child is breathing faster or putting more effort into breathing like if the skin around the ribcage is retracting when they breathe. 

RSV can develop into bronchiolitis which is an inflammation of the airways. It is also the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than one year old, according to the CDC.

Call Elmwood Pediatric Group to be seen if you have concerns. If your child looks very ill: gray or blue tongue, lips, or skin and significantly decreased activity and alertness, respiratory distress, then call 911. 

Know How to Care for Your Child with RSV

Be sure to give your child plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If your child has less than one wet diaper every 8 hours, they could be dehydrated. 

Use over-the-counter fever and pain reducers for children (never aspirin). 

We don’t recommend over-the-counter cold medicines in children under 6 years of age.

Use a cool mist humidifier to break up mucus.

Don’t hesitate to contact Elmwood Pediatric Group at (585) 244-9720 if you have questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms. We are always here to help.

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