Respiratory syncytial virus 427

care center, it is not unusual to see every child come down with an RSV infection.

The first infection is the worst, but it does not confer immunity; RSV can also cause serious colds in children who have repeated infections.

Cause

The RSV is spread via contact with droplets from the nose and throat of infected patients when they cough and sneeze. RSV can spread through direct respiratory secretions on sheets, towels, and other items. This infection is a big problem for hospitalized children, who can become seriously ill with pneumonia if they catch RSV.

Air pollution and smoking irritate the throat lining and can make it easier to catch RSV; people who live in areas of heavy industrial pollution or who live with smokers have more serious and longer RSV infections.

Symptoms

Symptoms can range from a mild cold to severe pneumonia and include coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and severe fatigue. Fever is unusual in young babies. Pneumonia is most likely among high-risk patients; occasionally, the infection can be fatal to infants. Symptoms occur four to six days after exposure and may persist for a few days to weeks.

In most cases, babies are not seriously ill; the virus affects infants under age three months most severely, since they have a hard time breathing. All babies except those with other medical problems should recover within a week.

Children are infectious from 24 hours before symptoms appear until two weeks after the cold starts.

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