If you or your child has a cough it’s not improving and a fever that is going up to 103⁰ F, these can be RSV symptoms because of the exposure to RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Kids are catching RCV infection faster than adults and developing RSV symptoms.
If you and your children are immunized with the Flu vaccine, you won’t get enough symptoms even not required to come to the hospital. You will be protected even if you have mild flu or RSV symptoms. You should take your child to the hospital if your child is not vaccinated and has symptoms including trouble breathing and high fever along with flu-like symptoms.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
RSV causes infection of the respiratory tract and lungs. It is a very common infection and most children get infected by the age of 2 years. RSV can also infect adults but symptoms are mild and mimic the common cold. Symptomatic treatment and self-care measures are usually all that’s needed to relieve the discomfort.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause severe infection in younger infants, children up to 2 years of age, premature infants, older adults, and anyone with weak immunity.
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RSV symptoms appear after 4 to 6 days of exposure to the virus. The period between the exposure and the first symptom is called the incubation period. Generally, symptoms of RSV in adults are milder than in infants which may include.
- Dry Cough
- Low-grade fever
- Congested and runny nose
- Sneezing and sore throat
RSV symptoms in Severe Cases
Severe infection can cause inflammation respiratory tract and narrowing of the small airway passages. It may lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis. Symptoms of RSV in children may include:
- High-grade fever
- Severe cough
- Wheezing in chest
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rapid Breathing
- Cyanosis (Blue color of the skin due to lack of oxygen in the blood)
Infants are most severely affected by the respiratory syncytial virus, symptoms of RSV infection are more severe in infants and premature infants which may include:
- Rapid, short, and shallow breathing
- Severe cough
- Difficulty in breathing
- Struggling to breathe
- Poor feeding and infant do not suck the breast
Difference Between Flu and RSV Symptoms
Both infections occur in the winter season. A significant difference between Flu and RSV is the presentation of the symptoms of the disease.
Flu usually starts with a high-grade fever, headaches along with pain and aches. However, RSV starts as a cold, mild fever, that leads to high grade with the progression of the disease, coughing, fast breathing, and wheezes.
The most common route of transmission of both diseases is direct contact. This may include contact with virus-containing secretions through direct touch, hand shaking using patient’s articles, sneezing, coughing, and touching the infected areas, furniture, and utensils.
RSV can survive several hours on infected areas, utensils, and hands comparing influenza.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if severe RSV infection symptoms appear. Always watch if the child has difficulty in breathing, high-grade fever, and blue color on the skin of lips, nose, and nail beds. Toxic appearance, poor feeding, and dehydration are other signs. These are the emergency signs and urgent medical attention is needed to save patients’ life.
How Parents Can Protect Their Kids from Flu and RSV
Supportive care, maintenance of adequate hydration, decongestant, supplementary oxygen, and monitoring of the disease are the most important practices to prevent Flu and RSV
Avoid kissing your child if you have symptoms of a cold and flu. Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and don’t let anyone smoke around your baby. Keep your baby away from siblings and avoid exposure to others.
Cover your sneezes and cough with your folded arm shirt sleeve or tissue paper. Wash your hand regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use sanitizer.
Avoid close contact, handshake, kissing and sharing utensils, and cups with others.
Follow Covid-19 protocols if you suspect anyone has flu-like symptoms or any diagnosed case of RSV in your area.
Hand hygiene and avoiding direct contact with infected patients are the best practices to prevent the disease. If you identify the flu or RSV symptoms in the first 24 to 48 hours, your child may require medical attention and should see by a doctor.