November 7, 2019 — The virus known as RSV can cause serious breathing problems in infants. Parents need to be able to recognize the signs, says Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, because RSV infections appear to be on the rise. The hospital posted this video online to show parents exactly how it worked breathing could look and sound like:
RSV does not cause breathing problems in most children. In fact, almost all children will have an RSV infection at least once before the age of 2 years. For the most part, it doesn’t matter. Any symptoms — sneeze, runny nose, fever, to cough – usually disappear within a week or two.
But in some children, especially babies under 6 months old or those with other health conditions, RSV is more likely to cause serious lung illnesses like pneumonia or bronchiolitis. (Ask your doctor if your baby is more at risk.)
“Toddlers and babies can have serious complications,” says Neha Pathak, MD, editor-in-chief of WebMD Medical
And, says Pathak, it’s not always easy to notice if your baby has RSV, especially at first. Younger infants do not always get cold– symptoms similar to those that the virus usually causes in older children. In many cases, she says, the only signs may be that they are less active and more irritable.
“That’s why it’s important to watch closely for any signs of respiratory problems.”
“The sooner you treat it, the better the outcome.”
Signs of breathing problems can include:
- Flared nostrils
- Pause while breathing
- Head movement with each breath
- rapid breaths
- Blue color around the lips or fingertips
- Stomach muscles that tighten to breathe
Infants with RSV-related breathing problems usually need to go to the hospital. With the right treatment, most babies make a full recovery within a few days.