Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the leading cause of hospitalization in babies under age 1.
RSV is a highly contagious virus that can lead to respiratory illness in babies, including lung infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.*
RSV infections can go from mild symptoms to hospitalization in less than a week.
Mild symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, while severe symptoms can include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
* Bronchiolitis (bron-key-oh-lie-tis) is a viral infection in the smallest airways (bronchioles) in your lungs. When the bronchioles swell and become inflamed, mucus may build up, leading to congestion and difficulty breathing.
*Pneumonia (noo-mohn-yuh) is a lung infection that can cause mild to severe coughing, fever, and trouble breathing.
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RSV can often mimic a cold or the flu. But as the infection becomes more severe so do the symptoms. Keep a close eye on your baby if you notice any of the following:
In babies under 6 months, the only RSV symptoms they may show are irritability, decreased activity, decreased appetite, and difficulty breathing.
If you notice any of the following in your baby, contact their doctor right away:
Short, shallow, and abnormally fast breathing: Look for chest wall retractions. Think of chest wall retractions as a “caving in” of the chest in between and under the ribs.
RSV spreads incredibly easily. Talk with your family and friends about practicing the following healthy habits to help protect your baby from RSV:
RSV is unpredictable and all babies are at risk.
We created a guide with information from the CDC to help you understand what your baby might experience as RSV progresses.
What may be happening:
Symptoms can include: