Viral Lung Infections

How does the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affect infants?

A Answers (1)

  • ADr. Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, Pediatrics, answered

    In newborns and infants, RSV can migrate into the lungs and cause bronchiolitis, an inflammation and infection of the tiny airways of the lungs. It can cause very serious trouble breathing and wheezing, especially in babies who were born prematurely or who have heart or lung disease. For these high-risk babies there is a shot available called palivizumab (Synagis) to help protect them from catching RSV. It is given once a month from October through April, when RSV is most prevalent.

    Ask your pediatrician if your infant qualifies. There is no medication to treat RSV, only symptomatic care such as suctioning the nasal congestion. Even asthma medications that are often used to treat wheezing caused by asthma rarely will help wheezing from RSV. If your infant is having trouble breathing, she may need to be hospitalized for oxygen, breathing treatments, or fluids.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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What is the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children?