How do I know if my child has RSV?

Answered by Cody Janus

If you suspect that your child may have RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), there are a few key symptoms to look out for. It’s important to note that RSV can affect people of all ages, but it tends to be more severe in infants and young children.

1. Runny nose: One of the first signs of RSV is a persistent, runny nose. This can be accompanied by nasal congestion and sneezing. The mucus may be clear at first but can become thicker and yellow or green as the infection progresses.

2. Fever: Another common symptom of RSV is a fever. A child with RSV may have a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C). However, it’s important to remember that not all children with RSV will have a fever, so the absence of one does not rule out the possibility of RSV.

3. Cough: RSV often leads to a cough that can be dry or produce mucus. The cough may become more persistent and severe as the infection progresses. It’s important to monitor your child’s cough, especially if it becomes severe or interferes with their breathing.

4. Difficulty breathing: RSV can cause respiratory distress in some children. They may have short periods without breathing (apnea), struggle to breathe, or breathe faster than usual. You may notice flaring of the nostrils or straining of the chest or stomach while your child is breathing. If you observe any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.

5. Trouble eating, drinking, or swallowing: Infants with RSV may experience difficulty feeding or may refuse to eat altogether. This can be due to a combination of factors, including nasal congestion, coughing, and general discomfort. It’s important to ensure that your child stays hydrated and monitor their intake of fluids.

6. Wheezing: Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that occurs when air flows through narrowed airways. It can be a sign of inflammation and obstruction in the lungs, which can occur with RSV. If you notice your child wheezing, it’s important to seek medical attention.

These are some of the most common symptoms of RSV, but it’s important to remember that each child’s experience may differ. Some children may only have mild symptoms, while others may develop more severe complications. If you suspect that your child has RSV, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.