What is RSV disease?

RSV is a virus that infects the lungs

RSV, or respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus, is a contagious viral disease that may infect a person’s lungs and breathing passages.

In babies, RSV generally causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. But in certain high-risk infants it can cause serious lung infections and hospitalization.

Is RSV contagious?

RSV spreads rapidly among children. Most children will recover in 1 to 2 weeks, but are able to continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks, even after they have recovered.

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Nearly all children
will catch RSV by
the time they’re
2 years old.


When is RSV season?

RSV is present year-round but usually runs from fall into spring. It can change from year to year and depends on where you live. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider when RSV season starts and ends in your area.

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What are the signs of RSV?

RSV symptoms in high-risk infants include:

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Coughing or wheezing that does not stop

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Fast or troubled breathing
Gasping for breath

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A fever (especially if it is greater than 100.4°F [rectal] in infants under 3 months of age)

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A bluish color around the mouth or fingernails

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Spread-out nostrils and/or a caved-in chest when trying to breathe

If at any time you see any of these symptoms of RSV, call your baby’s healthcare provider right away.