We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the flu, but there’s also a lot of RSV floating around. RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. It’s a respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms, and it can be very serious for young kids.
“The signs and symptoms of RSV can look similar to the flu,” says 9NEWS Medical Expert Dr. Comilla Sasson. “Often times this is a virus that effects the child’s lungs, and a lot of times you’ll see it in toddlers and infants.”
Sasson says what can happen is babies can get inflammation in their lungs and they can have a very difficult time breathing, so much so that their respiratory rate goes up and you may need to take them to the emergency department to figure out how to revers some of that inflammation in the lungs, and also help them breathe.
“There are some really big things that can happen in terms of RSV, the most important thing is RSV can cause your child to have a really difficult time breathing," Sasson said. "So what can happen is they can start breathing really fast and can’t get deep breaths of air, and ultimately, the worst complication is they can’t breathe at all and have to be on a ventilator.”
Sasson says RSV is highly contagious and doesn't just impact babies. If a child is a bit older, and has any kind of asthma or lung issues, they can get sick very quickly. It can even infect adults. If they have lung issues like asthma, emphysema or a lung condition, it can have some serious consequences.
Sasson says if your gut tells you something isn’t right, or your child isn’t breathing right, take him or her to the doctor right away.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people recover from RSV within a week or two.