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Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Respiratory syncytial virus is a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Although most people recover within a week, RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV infection symptoms include a runny nose, a decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing, but in young infants, they may experience irritability and breathing difficulties. (Yassine, 2020) These symptoms show within 4 to 6 days after getting infected, and they occur in stages and not all at once. If not treated earlier, RSV can cause more severe infections such as bronchiolitis, inflammation of the small airways in the lung, pneumonia, and lung infections.
RSV is contagious and can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. An uninfected person may contract the virus if they get droplets from the cough or sneeze in their eyes, nose, or mouth or touch a surface that has the virus on it, and they touch their face before washing hands. People infected with RSV are contagious for about 8 days; however, some infants or people with low immunity may continue to spread the virus even after symptoms cease to show. (Shmidt & Varga, 2020) The virus can live on hard surfaces for many hours, but on soft surfaces such as tissues, they live for shorter periods. People at higher risks of contracting the virus are premature infants, young children with heart or lung diseases, young children with low immunity due to a medical condition, adults with low immunity, and older adults, especially those with underlying diseases of the heart or lungs. The spread of the virus can be curbed by covering one’s coughs with a tissue so as not to expose the virus to the atmosphere. Wash hands with soap and water regularly for about 20 seconds, avoid close contact, kissing, shake hands, and share utensils such as cups with others.
This virus affected my son when he was just 8 days old. I notice that he had a hard time breathing, and because he was gasping for air, I quickly rush him to the hospital. The Doctors concluded that he was affected with this virus. The treatments given was nasal fluids and a suction tube to remove congestion. He also was had oxygen to help with breathing if necessary. There are so many cases where infants had died from this virus unfortunately. I was blessed with a great Respiratory Nurse and a great team. My son is now 13 and have not had any further complications to this date. I urge all parents to always pay attention to any abnormal signs so they can quickly take action.
A Two-Part Infant Study for Early Diagnosis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) anEvaluation of JNJ-53718678 in RSV Acute Respiratory Tract Disease. (2019). https://doi.org/10.31525/ct1-nct04068792
Schmidt, M., & Varga, S. (2020). Cytokines and CD8 T cell immunity during respiratory syncytial virus infection. Cytokine, 133, 154481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cyto.2018.07.012