What's Going Around: Respiratory Syncytial Virus

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

January 9, 2012

It's a virus that can be as mild as a cold in some patients and deadly in others. Dr. Kathy Smyth of Palmyra Medical Associates says Respiratory Syncytial Virus (R.S.V.) has more people coming in to get checked out.

Adults can get the virus, but it typically impacts infants the most, especially babies under six months old and infants who were born prematurely.

Symptoms of R.S.V. include runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing, fast breathing and inflammation of the small airway. The virus usually lasts 10-14 days.

Dr. Smyth recommends treating R.S.V. with supportive care and close observation, pushing fluids, along with a Tylenol nasal suction. If these things don't work it may be time to get your baby to the hospital for oxygen, I.V. fluids or breathing treatments.

When it comes to prevention, Dr. Smyth says premature babies can get monthly shots of a certain anti-body, which has been shown to reduce the death rate and admission into the intensive care unit.

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