Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children. It’s a primary cause of hospitalization for children in the winter and the main cause of diseases, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, in young children. Although RSV is rarely fatal on its own, the problems that arise during a bout of RSV can be severe.

RSV is carried in tears and mucus and can be transmitted through the air if an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can live on a countertop for seven hours, researchers have found. The first symptoms usually appear about five days after exposure. The most common symptoms are a bad cough, fast breathing, wheezing and fever. Sometimes there’s an earache; sometimes related infections develop. Your child may not take fluids well and may seem pale and appear exhausted. Her nostrils may pinch inward or flare. If she develops any of these symptoms, call her doctor right away. If she appears blue, call 9-1-1 immediately.

To prevent the spread of RSV, wash hands frequently and ask people who handle your baby to wash their hands first. Use tissues for nose-blowing instead of handkerchiefs and cover your mouth when you cough — and make sure others do the same. Don’t let people with colds near your baby.

— Source: Akron Children’s Hospital


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