Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Most respiratory infections are thought to be associated with a virus of some sort. Some are more dangerous than others. Respiratory Syncytial Virus - RSV, for short - usually results in nothing more serious than the common cold, if that. But in younger children (up to 3-4 years) or anyone with a weak immune system, it can be much more severe. It can lead to bronchiolitis or even pneumonia. A child, especially one under 2 years old, who has a cold (runny nose and/or cough) which progresses to wheezing and shortness of breath may have RSV. It is more common in the winter and early spring months, as is the flu. If a child tests positive for RSV, it doesn't mean a hospital stay is inevitable. It does mean both provider and caregiver(s) should be more watchful for signs of worsening. And if a child with RSV responds to a nebulizer treatment, steroids may help keep him or her out of the hospital.