RSV in Infants and Young Children

RSV in Infants and Young Children

Sep 01, 2022

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that affects the lungs and bronchioles. It is a common cause of childhood illness, affecting infants and children below two years, although it can also infect adults.

Most healthy children and adults who get RSV only suffer from a mild case with cold-like symptoms. For such a case, self-care or comfort care is usually needed. However, a severe RSV infection can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis and thus, require hospital treatment.

The people at risk of a severe RSV infection are infants below six months old, those over 65 years, those with lung or heart conditions, and those with a weakened immune system. RSV can also worsen existing lung and heart problems.

The Sign and Symptoms of RSV in Infants, Young Children, and Adults

Some of the common symptoms of the respiratory syncytial virus in infants include:

  • A runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Fever
  • Short, shallow, and rapid breathing
  • Spreading out of nostrils with every breath
  • Blush coloring of mouth, lips, and fingernails
  • Belly breathing, see if their chest is caving in the form of an upside-down ‘V’ starting from the neck
  • Wheezing

The symptoms of RSV in young children include:

  • Irritability/fussiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Decreased activity, easily fatigued than usual

If your child has some of the symptoms mentioned above, they must immediately visit an emergency room for RSV diagnosis and management. Altus Emergency Center Lake Jackson has qualified medical providers to care for your child.

The Causes and Risk Factors of RSV in Infants

RSV spreads through the air after sneezing, coughing, or contacting an infected person. The chances of severe infection are higher for babies born prematurely, children under 8 to 10 weeks, children born with lung or heart disease, and infants with a weakened immune system due to an illness or medical treatment.

How is RSV Diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made by a health care provider who will ask about your child’s medical history, including the symptoms. They will also conduct a physical exam by listening to your child’s lungs and checking the oxygen level through a small finger motoring test called pulse oximetry.

The doctor may also order blood testing to check for any signs of infection or take a nose swab to test for viruses. If the doctor suspects other illnesses, they may take imaging tests like x-rays and CT scans to check your child’s lungs.

RSV Treatment

If your child has minor symptoms, then prescription treatment is unnecessary as the RSV will clear away on its own after at least two weeks. Antibiotics cannot be used to treat viral infections, including those caused by RSV. However, your doctor can prescribe one if your child has been tested and has bacterial pneumonia or other infection.

Infants or young children who develop bronchiolitis may have to be hospitalized for oxygen treatment. In addition, if your child cannot drink because of rapid breathing, they may need to receive intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated.

An older adult suffering from RSV, especially with a compromised immune system, may need to be hospitalized if it is severe. While at Lake Jackson emergency room, you may need to be transferred to a breathing machine to receive more oxygen, to help you breathe well, and receive IV fluids that keep you hydrated.

How Can You Make a Child with RSV Feel Better At Home?

It is advisable to follow these tips to alleviate or prevent your child’s RSV symptoms, but if the condition worsens, consider visiting a 24-hour ER near you:

  1. Do not allow anyone to use tobacco around your child or at home, as it can complicate their breathing.
  2. Use a cool-mist vaporizer to soothe dry breathing passages if your doctor recommends it.
  3. Allow your child to have plenty of rest.
  4. Give your child all the medication as instructed by your doctor
  5. Ensure your child gets fluids like breast milk or formula for infants, or juices, milk, and water for older children. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight infections.
  6. Blow your child’s nose frequently or gently suction your infant’s nose.
  7. Apply saline nasal drops to help loosen the mucus in your child’s nose

Are you in need of an emergency room in Lake Jackson, TX 77566? At Altus Emergency Center Lake Jackson, we provide all kinds of health related emergency treatment like abdominal pain, cardiac emergency care, migraine care, Injuries and Illnesses, trauma Care, lab and imaging service, pediatric emergency care, head/back injuries care, sports injuries care, and flu emergency care and many more if you are looking for. We are located only a little far from you and offer great and comprehensive 24-hour emergency care appointments for the encompassing Lake Jackson region:

  • Oyster Creek
  • Clute
  • FreePort
  • Jones creek
  • Richwood
  • Bailey's Prairie
  • West Columbia
  • Brazoria
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