Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection: Symptoms and Causes


During the fall and winter months, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infects people. It is a common respiratory virus that spreads easily through contact with coughing and sneezing droplets. People who are severely immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions are at higher risk for developing RSV. RSV can cause respiratory infections, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis. In infants and children, the infection can be dangerous.

People infected with RSV may experience mild symptoms, including a cough, fever, and cold-like symptoms. These symptoms may improve on their own or require medical treatment. However, some people experience more severe symptoms. People with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and heart problems may be more likely to have more severe symptoms.

Adults and older children can also develop RSV. If you have a respiratory infection, you should contact your healthcare provider. A health care provider can determine if you have RSV by taking a medical history, performing a physical exam, and testing your blood or sputum for the virus.

Children are more likely to develop RSV if they live with people who have the disease. Children may also share toys with other children who have the illness. You should learn how to prevent the spread of the virus. You should also learn how to treat your symptoms.

If your child’s condition is severe, he or she may need to stay in a hospital. This can be necessary to monitor breathing and give IV fluids.