Respiratory Syncytial Virus


Dr. Connolly
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common cause of respiratory infection, especially in young children. In fact, almost all children get RSV at least once before they are two years old. Dr. Alvarado, can you tell us more about RSV?

Dr. Alvarado
Absolutely, Dr. Connolly. For most healthy children, RSV causes nothing worse than a cold-like illness. In some children, however, RSV can cause more serious symptoms and complications, such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Infants born prematurely, children younger than six months, and children with heart or lung disease are at higher risk for these complications.

Children can get RSV in the late fall through early spring months. The best way to prevent an RSV infection is to keep your children away from other children who have RSV. This is especially true for babies under three months old. However, this can be difficult for children who are in school or daycare.

When your child is old enough, teach them to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to put the tissue in the trash right away. They should also be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water, or use instant hand sanitizers when soap and water aren't readily available.

You can also help keep your child safe from viruses by disinfecting or wiping down commonly touched surfaces, such as sink handles, doorknobs, railings, refrigerator and microwave doors, toys, remote controls, and electronic devices.