What is RSV and why do we care?

This year, Covid has not been the only virus on the news. RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) has
been featured as we are seeing an earlier surge in cases compared to normal after having
relatively low numbers last year.

RSV can cause respiratory illnesses (cough, congestion, fevers) in people of all ages. In our
pediatric office, the most common presentation of RSV is bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is when
there is an infection in a lower part of the lungs called the bronchioles. During bronchiolitis,
these bronchioles become full of mucus, making it harder for infants and young children to
breathe.

Bronchiolitis typically occurs in patients under 3 years old. RSV is the most common cause of
lower respiratory infections in children less than 1-year-old. These kiddos can present with a
variety of symptoms including copious nasal drainage, vomiting after feeds due to the mucus,
significant cough, congestion that is felt in the chest, fevers, and difficulty breathing.
As bronchiolitis is caused by viral infections, antibiotics are not useful in treating it. It is most
important to ensure that babies are feeding well, not struggling to breathe, and have normal
oxygen numbers. For babies under 3 months old, a fever (temperature over 100.4F) needs
urgent evaluation. If needed, we may perform a suction in clinic to help babies manage their
secretions.

Please call if you have any questions or concerns about your kiddos. We wish you a happy and
safe holiday season!