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RSV in Infants and Babies – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

The acronym RSV refers to respiratory syncytial virus, a virus that affects lungs and airway. This is one of the most common respiratory diseases that affect infants, babies and older kids. Adults do also get affected.
The infection, which can be in form of pneumonia or bronchiolitis is highly contagious because an infected baby or child can easily spread virus to another baby, child or adult through cough and sneezing or when a healthy baby or child comes into contact with clothing or item contaminated with the virus. Breakout of RSV is normally in late fall and beginning of spring with infection lasting about a week although some cases can last for two or three weeks.

Symptoms

Babies infected with RSV present a good number of symptoms. While some symptoms are generally mild, others are severe and can be life-threatening. How mild or severe an infection is depends on type of virus strain involved and whether or not a baby has any other medical condition. Some of the symptoms include;
• Low fever characterized by nasal congestion and running nose.
• High-pitched cough as a result of swelling around vocal cords.
• Difficulty in breathing.
• Chest wall retraction and nasal flaring.
• Bluish coloration round the mouth, lips and fingernails.

Cause

RSV infection is caused by the RSV. A baby, child or adult easily acquires the virus when a nearby baby or adult who is infected coughs or sneezes.

Treatment

RSV infection is generally mild. However, infants and babies with weak immune system or those having medical conditions can develop life-threatening complications.

Pediatricians usually recommend hospitalization of infected infants and babies for close monitoring. Such infants and babies are normally given fluids and medications that address such resultant symptoms as fever and breathing problems.

Prevention

RSV infection in infants and babies can be serious depending on strain involved and whether or not an infant or baby has an underlying medical condition. This makes it very necessary for parents with infants and small babies to prevent it at all costs. Part of prevention includes avoiding crowded places to minimize chances of infection, high level of hygiene when handling an infant or baby. Infant or baby clothing should also be washed and let to dry in an open place.

There are also risk factors that parents with infants and small babies need to be aware about. Infants and babies born prematurely are always at risk of contracting RSV. This also applies to infants and babies with weak immune system. Parents of such infants and babies need to take necessary precautions to ensure that their infants or babies remain safe at all times.

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