What're the signs and symptoms of RSV infection?Signs and symptoms of RSV typically appear about four to six days after exposure to the infection. In adults and children older than 3, RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms similar to those present during an upper respiratory infection. RSV infections can range from very mild illness to serious lower respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia,
that occur mostly in the very young, the very old, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks.
Signs and symptoms in young children are usually mild and similar to a cold. They include stuffy nose, cough, and sometimes ear infection. In older children and adults, RSV causes upper respiratory infection involving the nose, throat, or sinuses. In small children, the disease usually begins with a runny nose and sneezing. The temperature then rises to about 38-39°C and the child starts coughing and has problems breathing. Symptoms usually develop within a few hours, but the most critical period normally comes two to three days after coughing starts. Children who develop a lower respiratory tract infection often have low-grade fever for several days, a cough that sometimes lasts more than 2 weeks, and respiratory symptoms including difficult or rapid breathing and deep coughing. Symptoms in newborns and young infants may include irritability, listlessness, and poor feeding.
RSV also causes repeated infections throughout life, usually associated with moderate-to-severe cold-like symptoms; however, severe lower respiratory tract disease may occur at any age, especially among the elderly or among those with compromised cardiac, pulmonary or immune systems. Breathing problems occur in RSV infections because the bronchioles swell, making it difficult for air to get in and out of the lungs. If the child is having trouble breathing, immediate medical care is needed. Breathing problems are most common in infants under one year of age; they can develop rapidly.
More information on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infectionWhat is the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)? - Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children.
What causes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection? - Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a virus that attacks the mucous membranes of people's respiratory tracts.
What're the signs and symptoms of RSV infection? - Signs and symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection include stuffy nose, cough, and sometimes ear infection.
What complications can result from RSV infection? - A person with a first RSV infection can develop severe breathing problems that need to be managed in the hospital.
Who is at risk for RSV infection? - Very young infants, and children with underlying lung, heart, or immune system problems are at high risk for severe RSV disease.
How is RSV infection diagnosed? - Diagnosis of RSV infection can be made by virus isolation, detection of viral antigens, detection of viral RNA.
What is the treatment for RSV infection? - Most people with mild RSV infections get better without treatment. RSV antibody and ribavirin to treat patients with compromised immune systems.
How can RSV infection be prevented? - RSV transmission can and should be prevented by strict attention to contact precautions, such as hand washing and wearing gowns and gloves.