What are the Symptoms and Long Term Effects of RSV in Infants

RSV in infants is a virus that is the root cause of most respiratory infections. While it is a common pediatric infection, there are cases in which babies need to be hospitalized because of serious complications due to lack of medical attention.

RSV in Infants Symptoms

  • The most common sign of onset of RSV is difficulty in breathing.
    1. The baby shows symptoms like runny nose, wheezing or coughing.
    2. Depressed area under the breastbone may occur.
    3. A sure sign of labored breathing is the constant rise and fall of the infant’s abdomen while inhaling and exhaling.
  • Irritability
    1. When a baby has RSV, it will cause discomfort leading to a grumpy behavior.
    2. Irritability can be mistaken as colic, but observe the baby if he or she becomes more irritable than usual.
  • Fever is another symptom of RSV. Contact the pediatrician if the breathing difficulty is accompanied by fever.

Children at Risk

Symptoms of RSV infection may be more pronounced in some children who have a higher risk.

  • Infants born prematurely
  • Children with serious heart ailments
  • Children with lung problems
  • Children with immunodeficiency disorder

Furthermore, RSV infections tend to affect babies in seasonal outbreaks.

Cases are high during late fall, winter or the early spring months. The virus is transmitted through close contact with infected babies or objects. Points of entry are through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose or eyes.

RSV in Infants Long Term Effects

RSV has been reported to have long term effects on children. They may develop asthma and other respiratory illnesses later in life due to this infection. For adults, they may face permanent damage to the lungs from prolonged use ventilator to alleviate difficulty in breathing.

Treating RSV in Infants

  • Mild cases of RSV infection do not require hospital stay for treatment.
  • Home care with medications to control fever and relieve the breathing problems is the common course of treatment.
  • Babies with weakened immune systems may be admitted to the hospital for monitoring.
  • Humidified or moistened oxygen, oftentimes mixed with special medications, is used in the treatment.
  • Anti-viral medications may also be given, depending on how the doctors deem it fit.
  • Most children will recover within a span of 8 to 15 days.
  • Recurrence of RSV infection is common. When another bout with the virus occurs, the symptoms tend to be less pronounced.

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