What's the cure for RSV for infants?

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4 Answers

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Most cases of respiratory syncytial virus are mild and don't need medical treatment from doctors. Antibiotics aren't used because RSV is a virus and antibiotics work only against bacteria. Sometimes, doctors give medicine to help open airways.

RSV infection can be more serious in babies, though. Some might need treatment in a hospital. There, they can be watched closely and get fluids, if needed, and treatment for any breathing problems.

Home Care

At home:

  • Make your child as comfortable as possible.
  • Allow time for recovery.
  • Provide plenty of fluids. Babies may not feel like drinking, so offer fluids in small amounts often.

Avoid hot-water and steam humidifiers, which can be hazardous and can cause scalding. If you use a cool-mist humidifier, clean it daily with household bleach to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

If your child is uncomfortable and too young to blow his or her own nose, use a nasal aspirator (or bulb syringe) to remove sticky nasal fluids.

Treat fever using a non-aspirin fever medicine like acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be used in children with viral illnesses. Its use has been linked to Reye syndrome, a life-threatening illness.

Call the doctor if your child has:

  • a high fever and doesn't look well
  • a thick nasal discharge
  • a cough that gets worse or produces yellow, green, or gray mucus
  • signs of dehydration

Also call the doctor if your infant is very cranky, or refuses to breastfeed or bottle-feed.

Get medical help right away if your child:

  • has trouble breathing or is breathing very rapidly
  • is very drowsy
  • has lips or fingernails that look blue

RSV cases can range from mild cold symptoms to those of severe bronchiolitis. But if you suspect your baby has RSV, it’s important to call your pediatrician or seek emergency medical care.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • your baby appears dehydrated, such as sunken fontanels (soft spots) and no tear production when they cry
  • coughing up thick mucus that’s gray, green, or yellow in color making it hard to breathe
  • fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C), rectally obtained, in babies younger than 3 months
  • fever greater than 104.0°F (39.4°C) in a child of any age
  • thick nasal discharge that makes it tough for baby to breathe

Seek immediate medical care if your baby’s fingernails or mouth are blue in color. This indicates your baby isn’t getting enough oxygen and is in severe distress. 

A mild RSV infection will go away in a week or two, you take care of the baby just like in a cold. Keep the baby hydrated, let the baby rest. 

However, a few of babies develop into more severe cases and need hospitalization. 

Each year in the United States, an estimated 57,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Those at greatest risk for severe illness from RSV include

  • Premature infants
  • Very young infants, especially those 6 months and younger
  • Children younger than 2 years old with chronic lung disease
  • Children younger than 2 years old with chronic heart disease
  • Children with weakened immune systems
  • Children who have neuromuscular disorders, including those who have difficulty swallowing or clearing mucus secretions

Symptoms that you need to watch out are:

  • Fast breathing
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Head bobbing with breathing
  • Rhythmic grunting during breathing
  • Belly breathing, tugging between their ribs, and/or tugging at the lower neck
  • Wheezing
No quick treatment for a virus infection. Treatment to viral infection is supportive treatment. Anti-virus drug maybe helpful but usually not to kids. RSV in infants may cause pneumonia, which could be life-threatening. It should be treated by professionals.