Facts about RSV
- It is a highly communicable virus that is most powerful during the winter season.
- Children who get infected with RSV have symptoms like fever, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, and cough.
- This can cause severe diseases, such as pneumonia and wheezing (bronchiolitis in infants). This produces a high risk of premature infants and those children are having a weak immune system.
What is RSV?
It is one of the common virus seen in human beings more in infants during the seasonal change. This virus was discovered in 1956, and it can cause a huge variety of illnesses. Elder children and adults commonly experiences ‘colds’ which lasts for one to two weeks. Fever, nasal congestion, and cough are the most common complaints to this virus. In infants and toddlers, RSV can cause severe diseases like pneumonia and bronchiolitis. This virus can enter a human body through eyes, mouth, or nose. If our eyes or face is touched by the hand which has come in contact with an infected person.
Causes of RSV
It is a highly communicable disease that is spread through droplet transmission. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, secretions from their respiratory tract containing the virus are passed out into the air. This virus can survive for hours on surfaces such as tabletops, hands, and clothing, making it easy for the virus to be transmitted from person to person.
These are at highest risk for complications or severe symptoms include:
- infants who were born pre-matured
- those children younger than 2 years
- adults or children who have a weak immune system
- people with heart or lung diseases
- those with other medical conditions, such as Asthma
- This infection is more likely among those who have a child or sibling in their home or to those who go to public places frequently.
Who gets affected by RSV?
Various broad categories of patients are most vulnerable to RSV infection. These include:
- premature infants and all infants who are less than 1 year of age,
- Children of 2 years old with cardiac disease or chronic lung disease (for example, asthma, cystic fibrosis, etc. . .),
- those of any age with a compromised immune system ( those who are having a weak immune system ), and
- Those adults of 65 years of age or older than them.
Symptoms of RSV
The symptoms by which we can recognize the virus are given below:
- In most infants, the symptoms are similar to those of a bad cold. These include fever, continuous runny nose, cough, and nasal congestion.
- The duration of these symptoms is for one to two weeks. During their first RSV infection, babies and young children also can have signs and symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
- A whistling or wheezing noise from noise while breathing
- Cough with yellow, green, or grey mucus
- Trouble in breathing or pauses in breathing
- Refusing to breastfeed or bottle-feed ( for infant babies )
- Signs of dehydration: lack of tears while crying, little or no urine in their diaper for 6 hours, and dry skin (for infant babies)
Treatment of RSV
There is no specific treatment of RSV infections. Hence, children with bronchiolitis may require hospitalization if breathing becomes occurred. In most cases, even for those requiring hospitalization, recovery starts in one to two weeks. High risked infants can be treated with a neutralizing antibody (Palivizumab or Synagis) to RSV to reduce the risk of severe RSV illnesses.
Prevention from RSV
Steps that you can take to avoid and prevent RSV include:
- Avoid kissing your baby if you have symptoms of cough or cold.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces.
- Don’t let the infected person smoke around you.
- If possible, stay away from the infected person, including siblings, having cold symptoms.
- Stay away from crowds.
- Wash hands frequently and doesn’t share items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with people who have RSV illness.
We should be very careful about this virus. This virus can create diseases like pneumonia and bronchiolitis and if these diseases are cured on time they can be very dangerous to us. Supportive care is the main form of therapy for this virus. Patients who are at high risk of developing this disease can attempt preventive therapy, which is effective for treating RSV. Since RSV can spread easily, try to prevent it as much as possible.