Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Respiratory Syncytial Virus

What Is Respiratory Syncytial Virus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Have you ever heard of respiratory syncytial virus or commonly abbreviated as RSV? This disease includes infections that are transmitted through the air. What are the symptoms and how severe are the complications that may arise? All your questions will be answered through the following review. Come on!

What is respiratory syncytial virus?

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a virus that can cause infections in the airway and lungs.

The virus generally infects children aged two years and over, but it can also affect older persons.

Symptoms of RSV infection are similar to those of a cold or flu and usually tend to be mild. Home treatment is enough to relieve symptoms and restore a diseased body.

However, RSV virus infection can cause more serious symptoms in infants aged 1 year or younger, the elderly, heart disease patients, or people with weakened immune systems.

Causes of respiratory syncytial virus

Respiratory viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. The virus spreads easily through coughing or sneezing containing infectious secretions, which are then inhaled by others through direct contact, such as shaking hands.

The virus can also live for hours on objects such as tables and toys. Touching the mouth, nose or eyes after touching a contaminated object is likely to cause exposure to this virus.

The first few days after infection is the most infectious phase, so it is easy to transmit this virus to others. But the RSV virus can still spread up to a few weeks after infection.

Respiratory syncytial virus risk factors

The virus can be more easily spread, especially during times of high infection transmission, namely in the rainy season when the temperature decreases.

In addition to weather or seasonal factors, several other factors can increase a person’s risk of being infected with respiratory syncytial viruses and experiencing serious symptoms.

  • Children who have chronic heart disease or heart defects from birth.
  • Infants 6 months of age or younger.
  • Children or adults with weakened immune system conditions due to certain diseases or treatments.
  • Older persons with heart problems or diseases.
  • Children who have nerve and muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophy.
  • People over the age of 65 or older.

RSV infection symptoms

Symptoms of RSV infection are quite diverse, depending on the age of the sufferer and the severity. RSV in older persons or children is usually only a cough or runny nose, nasal congestion, and fever. While in infants or children whose immune system is very low, symptoms of RSV infection include:

  • Wheezing, a term to describe high-pitched sounds when breathing. This sound is usually heard when exhaling.
  • Difficult or fast breathing.
  • The baby’s skin looks bluish.
  • Fussiness and malaise (a medical term to describe common conditions that are weak, uncomfortable, less fit, or feel sick).

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus treatment

Moms need to bring the child immediately when he shows symptoms of RSV. Because RSV is a viral attack, this disorder cannot be treated with drugs such as antibiotics. Most cases of RSV subside by itself if the child has a strong immune system. Therefore, you need to maintain her nutritional intake, one of which is to keep breastfeeding and make sure your child gets enough rest.

In severe conditions, the baby may have to undergo treatment in the hospital so that the doctor can do direct monitoring. In addition, treatment with intravenous fluid and the use of ventilators may be necessary for infants who have severe-scale RSV infection.

1. Supportive therapy

Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) to reduce fever. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if there are bacterial complications, such as bacterial pneumonia.

If not given drugs to reduce fever and antibiotics, it can also be by maintaining the condition of the body as comfortable as possible. Provide plenty of fluids and pay attention to food intake, as well as monitor signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, infrequent urination, sunken eyes, etc.

2. Hospital treatment

In the treatment of severe ARV virus infection, in the hospital is usually given intravenously infusion and oxygen. In some severe cases, bronchodilators for nebulae such as albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) may be used to relieve breathing.

It can be nebulized (administration of drugs through breathing in the form of a fine mist) with ribavirin which is an antiviral agent. Your doctor may also recommend injections of epinephrine or another form of a nebulizer (racemic epinephrine) to relieve symptoms of RSV infection.


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Last Updated on May 17, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team