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RSV infections and your baby

 

If your baby is considered to be at high risk for serious complications from an RSV infection, talk to your doctor. Ask what you can do to help protect your baby, and what steps you should take if he/she develops any symptoms.

 

 

 

Getting medical attention when your baby is sick

 

For parents of high-risk infants, it’s important to contact your doctor if your baby begins to develop any symptoms. While there is no cure for RSV infections, your doctor can recommend ways to make your baby more comfortable, and can let you know what signs to look out for that indicate the infection is becoming more serious.

 

 

 

When to call a doctor

 

Your doctor may ask that you seek immediate medical attention if your baby experiences severe symptoms which may include:

 

  • Deeper and more frequent coughing
  • Difficulty breathing, including wheezing (a whistling sound) and rapid breathing
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty feeding

 

If you have any concerns regarding your baby’s condition, call your doctor.

 

 

 

Determining a diagnosis

 

Your baby’s doctor may diagnose an RSV infection based on the symptoms and the time of year, though there are also tests that can be used to confirm a diagnosis.

 

Doctors can make a diagnosis based on laboratory tests that look for the presence of RSV in mucus from the baby’s nose, or by testing for antibodies in the baby’s blood. Chest x-rays and a test that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood are also sometimes used.

 

 

Treating RSV infection

 

There is no direct treatment that can cure the RSV infection itself. That’s because RSV infection is caused by a virus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics (unlike bacterial infections).

 

That means if your infant is infected with a mild case of RSV, his/her infection will usually get better on its own (though your doctor may recommend treating symptoms such as fever).

 

 

 

In-hospital treatment

 

Some children are at risk for more severe RSV infections that can require hospitalization. If your baby is hospitalized for an RSV infection, he/she may be given an IV to replenish their fluids. Your baby may also receive humidified oxygen, have mucus suctioned from the airways, or in some cases, may need a ventilator to help them breathe.

 

In some cases, your child’s doctor may order an inhaled medication to open the air passages in the lungs and reduce wheezing. In very severe cases, your baby may also be given antiviral medications.

 

 

 

Help reduce your baby’s risk of infection

 

As a parent, there are things you can do to help reduce your baby’s risk of being infected, such as washing your hands regularly and keeping surfaces in your home clean.

 

 

 

 

If your baby is considered to be at high risk for serious complications from an RSV infection, talk to your doctor. Ask what you can do to help protect your baby, and what steps you should take if he/she develops any symptoms.

 

Get the facts.
Ask your doctor.