Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)


In most children, RSV usually causes symptoms similar to the common cold:

  • stuffy or runny nose
  • cough
  • ear infections (sometimes)
  • low-grade fever
  • sore throat

Warning signs of a serious RSV infection

These signs may mean your child has a more serious case of RSV. Get emergency help right away if your child has:

  • trouble breathing
  • fast, rapid breathing
  • wheezing
  • deeper and more frequent coughing
  • blue lips or fingernails
  • dehydration
  • difficulty breast feeding or bottle-feeding

RSV usually goes away on its own and does not require a hospital visit or specific medical treatment. Symptoms may last for one to two weeks, and a cough may last for two weeks or more. Symptoms in older children and adults are usually milder.

When should I call the doctor?

Get emergency help if your child has warning signs of a serious RSV infection. As in any case of illness, you should call the doctor if you are worries about your child. Your child's doctor can best decide with you whether the symptoms and behavious you describe need medical treatment. When in doubt, call for advice.

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Page Last Updated: 19/08/2014