A mother checks her child's temperature.
Children's Health, Seasonal Tips

RSV in Babies and Adults

Along with colder weather, winter also brings an increase in respiratory illnesses. Spending more time indoors allows germs to spread more easily, meaning more people get sick. Aside from Covid-19 and the flu, one of the common illnesses this time of year is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Raghda Bchech, MD, a family medicine physician at Bayhealth Family Medicine, Dover, says RSV can be particularly concerning for babies and young children.

“While RSV usually presents as mild cold symptoms, some infants and toddlers can experience more serious symptoms,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every child will be infected with RSV by their second birthday.

“Parents should be mindful if they notice their child develops a runny nose, cough, fever or decrease in appetite or urination,” Dr. Bchech says.

Most of the symptoms can be managed at home, but if you notice your child is wheezing or having difficulty breathing, call their doctor right away, as the virus can cause more severe infections such as pneumonia.

Although RSV is typically thought of as a children’s illness, adults can also be infected with the virus.

“Since symptoms in adults are usually mild, they might not realize they have RSV,” Dr. Bchech says. “Parents may infect their young children without knowing, so it’s important to practice good hygiene.”

Prevent spreading RSV by covering your coughs, washing your hands often, avoiding close contact (especially with babies and toddlers), and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. Being aware of your symptoms and being vigilant about hygiene can help you and your family stay healthy this season.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Family-Medicine-Dover to learn more, or call 302-725-3200 to schedule an appointment.

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