There is no cure for this virus. Rest, high humidity, and clear fluids can help. Fever can be treated with a nonaspirin fever medicine such as acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be used in children with viral illnesses since the use of aspirin in such cases has been associated with the development of reye's SYNDROME, a serious ENCEPHALITIS-like illness.

The antiviral drug ribavirin will help a child recover if started in the first few days after symptoms appear. Treatment with this drug is reserved for the most serious cases because of potential side effects; an expensive medication, it is given in the hospital as a mist treatment. Most hospitalized children with RSV do not need ribavirin.

Because RSV often improves on its own, treatment of mild symptoms is not necessary for most children. Antibiotics are not effective.

In instances when children are at extremely high risk for developing RSV, there are medications, such as palivizumab (Synagis) or RSV immune globulin (RespiGam), that may be used to prevent these individuals from becoming infected with RSV.

Before birth, babies typically receive antibodies from their mothers to help fight RSV and other viruses. However, premature babies do not get enough of these virus-fighting antibodies before birth. Synagis and RespiGam provide the natural antibodies that specifically target RSV.

Synagis is recommended for prevention of serious RSV infections in infants with a chronic lung disease often seen in premature infants (bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or BPD) and infants with a history of prematurity (birth before 35 weeks gestation).

RespiGam is recommended for prevention of serious RSV infections in infants less than 24 months of age with BPD and infants with a history of prematurity.

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