RSV: What You Need to Know

As we are seeing an increase in RSV in our community, we’d like to share some important information with you.

“In some respects we were lucky during the onset of COVID to have avoided more severe RSV seasons the past several years given the mitigation procedures such as masking and staying home when sick, but RSV appears to be back in full force this year,” said Dr. Michael Kramer of Memorial Healthcare Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSVP is the most common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the US.

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4-6 days after getting infected. Symptoms include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

Steps to relieve symptoms include over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (never give aspirin to children) and increasing fluid intake. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child non-prescription cold medicines as some contain ingredients that are not good for children.

“Like any respiratory virus, treatment is predominantly supportive care. Try to avoid others, especially infants, when you are sick, and handwashing, handwashing, handwashing,” adds Kramer.

Call your healthcare professional or seek out treatment at an emergency department if you or your child is having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms.

Memorial Healthcare recently opened a Pediatric Care Area in its 24/7 Emergency Department. This area is open Monday through Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm and offers patients a separate treatment area from adults with providers specifically trained in pediatric emergency medicine.

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