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Respiratory Syncytial Virus

What is RSV?

  • A virus that causes the common cold and other respiratory symptoms.
  • Occurs mostly in winter and early spring seasons.
  • Can appear year round.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Cold like signs and symptoms
  • Younger infants may experience:
    • Irritability
    • Poor feeding habits
    • Lethargy
    • Cyanosis
  • Causes respiratory problems such as:
    • Bronchiolitis
    • Pneumonia
  • Children with a weak immune system, are premature, or have heart and lung problems have a higher risk factor of getting the infection.
  • Most children are infected at least once by the time they are two years old and re-infection can happen again during the child’s life.
  • All children should be protected from exposure to tobacco smoke for those who are at risk for serious disease from RSV.

Incubation and Contagious Period

  • Incubation period is from 2-8 days and 4-6 days.
  • During the contagious period the virus is able to shed for 3-8 days.

How does the virus spread?

  • The virus is spread from direct or close contact of the mouth or nose secretions.
  • The virus can live on surfaces for several hours and thirty minutes or more on hands.
  • An infected person will begin to shed the virus that infects other people before that person is able to show any signs or symptoms.

How is the RSV controlled?

  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a disposable facial tissue or shoulder.
  • Remove any soiled or contaminated clothing and immediately wash hands right after.
  • Dispose of used facial tissues that contain any nasal secretions after each usage.
  • In hospital settings several measures need to be considered:
    • Have hand washing facilities close at hand.
    • Encourage hand hygiene before and after activities that involve food or touching the mouth, nose, and eyes.
    • Clean and sanitize common touched surfaces more frequently during the winter and early spring when suspected outbreaks are said to occur.
    • Keep a spare shirt to change into if clothing becomes contaminated.

Caregiver, Teacher, and Family Roles

  • Report infection to staff members designated by the child care program or school for a decision and action related to the care of the ill child.
  • Alerts possibly exposed family members to staff members in order for them to watch out for any signs or symptoms.
  • Practice control measures at home and in group care settings.

Group Setting

  • It is unnecessary to exclude children from group settings unless the child experiences rapid or labored breathing or cyanotic episodes, unable to participate for any reason, or has a change in behavior.

Readmit children into group settings when the child is able to participate and staff members determine that they are able to care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the health and safety of the other children in the group.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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