What Is RSV?

Young boy sneezing and covering his mouth from RSV in Idaho Falls

What is RSV

What is RSV? No parent wants to have to ask this question, but every parent should know the answer. RSV is a common sickness in babies and young children. And it can be scary for a parent. We hope that the following information will ease those fears and bring peace of mind to any parent in the Pocatello or Chubbuck area who thinks their child might have RSV.

We’ll discuss what you should know and what you should do as a parent with a sick child when it comes to RSV — including what is RSV?, how it spreads, what you should do, when you should visit the doctor, and some tips to help prevent RSV in your child. Let’s get to it.

What Is RSV?

It is a virus that can cause respiratory tract illness in the nose, throat, and lungs. Not only is it the most common lower respiratory tract disease in children, but reinfection is common. The most affected age group is children who are less than a year old. The CDC reports that RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

The symptoms of RSV are similar to a common cold. They include runny nose, sneezing, congestion, coughing, fever, fussiness, wheezing, and not eating. These symptoms may get worse for your child after they have been sick for 3-5 days.

These symptoms may not appear all at once and may 

vary depending on the age of the child. For example, in a young infant, they may be dealing with irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties. Most children will experience an RSV infection by the time they reach their second birthday. The symptoms generally show up 4-6 days after the infection sets in.

Most of the time a case of RSV is mild. But there is potential for it to lead to other infections like pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Some children are considered to be high-risk for complications from an RSV infection. High-risk children include:

  • Infants under 6 months — especially if they are born in the beginning of RSV season
  • Kids with lung disease or heart defects
  • Kids with a weakened immune system cause by illness or treatment
  • Infants born before 35 weeks of gestation

When Does RSV Hit?

RSV spreads from fall to spring, but from late December to mid-February is peak RSV season in Pocatello. A quick online search for recent articles about RSV and you’ll see things like “Local doctor warns against kissing, touching babies due to RSV”, “Doctors warning about virus that spreads like a cold” and “Health officials remind parents how easily RSV can spread to kids around holidays”.

How Does RSV Spread?

The RSV illness will spread in the same manner as a common cold — through physical contact between people or through infected droplets that get into the air from someone coughing or sneezing. It can also spread from contact with saliva or mucus from someone who has RSV as well as on unclean surfaces. RSV can survive on an unclean surface for about 6 hours and on unwashed hands for about 30 minutes.

RSV tips

What Should Parents Do If A Child Has RSV in Pocatello?

Fortunately, most RSV cases are mild and your kids will likely recover on their own. Parents can help a child feel better by treating the symptoms. One example would be giving them acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with their fever. Some other things that you can try to help include using suction to clear their nasal passage, prop them up when they are sleeping so the sinuses can drain, and feed them more often to keep them hydrated. Please contact us with any questions that you have about medications for your child in Pocatello.

When To See The Doctor

A more severe case of RSV should be seen by a doctor. In some cases, a child’s breathing can become compromised. If you are concerned that your child has a bad case of RSV, don’t hesitate to come see us in Pocatello. The sooner the better for your child’s well-being. The following symptoms indicate that a trip to the doctor is in order:

  • Fast breathing
  • Nasal flaring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Dehydration (signs include dry or cracked lips, no tear production, and a decrease is wet diapers)
  • Reduced activity and alertness
  • Earaches
  • Fever

How To Prevent RSV

No parent wants their child to deal with RSV. How do you make sure that doesn’t happen? There is no 100 percent guaranteed to work method, but the following tips will give your child much better odds of avoiding RSV. As a parent in Pocatello, the best thing that you can do to prevent your child from getting RSV is to wash your hands and your child’s hands frequently — and do it the right way. This means washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm        water. It is also very important to keep those young children safe by keeping their toys disinfected and limiting their exposure to anyone who is sick. Anyone in your household that isn’t feeling well needs to be sure to cover those coughs with a tissue or a shirt sleeve — not just their hands. They should also avoid direct contact with the child as much as possible while they are under the weather.

Child washing hands

Just 4 Kids Urgent Care

All healthy children will sometimes get sick. There’s really no way to eliminate that from happening. But, as a parent, you want to protect them as much as you can. Following these tips can help you to keep them healthier and happier. Please give us a call or come and see us if you have any questions or need some peace of mind.

If your child is showing signs of a common illness such as mono, flu, strep, or RSV — we have an in-house medical laboratory in Pocatello for your convenience. This enables us to get to the source of the problem quickly. Sometimes these tests can be scary for young kids, but our staff is trained to help children brave their way through it! We’ll always do our best to take great care of your child!


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