Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Five Oaks Pediatric Department


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common and highly contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract of most children before their second birthday.

Pediatrician, Dr. Ryan Knapp said, "For most babies and young children, the infection causes nothing more than a cold. But for a small percentage, infection with the RSV virus can lead to serious problems such as bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways of the lungs, or pneumonia, which can become life-threatening."

The risk of severe infection is greatest for premature infants, children younger than 2 who were born with heart or lung disease, babies and young children whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment or children under 8 to 10 weeks of life.

The symptoms of RSV include cold-like symptoms which include cough and runny nose, usually lasting one to two weeks.

You should call your baby's doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms: Difficulty breathing, high fever, unusual irritability or inactivity, refusal to breastfeed or bottle-feed, or any signs of dehydration including lack of tears when crying, little or no urine in the diaper for six hours or cool, dry skin. If your baby is lethargic or breathing very rapidly or has a blue tint to the lips or fingernails, get medical attention immediately.

Dr. Bridget Bryan, Pediatrician added, "RSV is spread easily by touching people or surfaces infected with the virus. It can also be spread by respiratory droplets, so make sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Taking measures to prevent RSV infection is important for all babies and especially important for those at high risk for severe infection."

To prevent the spread of the virus to your baby, wash your hands frequently, clean and disinfect hard surfaces, don't allow people to touch your baby without first washing their hands, avoid kissing baby if you have cold symptoms and keep your baby away from crowds. Additional preventative measures include keeping babies away from smoke, limit the time high-risk babies and young children stay in daycare and if possible, keep your baby away from anyone, including older siblings, with cold symptoms.

Five Oaks Pediatric Department is staffed with 5 exceptional Pediatric Practitioners to provide medical care for your children. Appointments can be made by calling 405.224.2100.