RSV infections are usually mild and may often resemble the common cold. In most cases, RSV infections go away on their own in about 8 to 15 days. Home treatment to ease symptoms and prevent complications is usually all that is needed.
Call your baby's doctor or healthcare provider right away if you have any concerns about your child's health.
For mild symptoms:2
- Watch for signs of dehydration. It is very important that your baby is properly hydrated with plenty of liquid, especially those fluids lost through rapid breathing, fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. It is recommended that you encourage more frequent breast or bottle-feeding.
- If you notice your child is uncomfortable and/or has a fever, you may be able to help relieve his or her symptoms with medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always check with your baby's doctor or healthcare provider before providing or administering medications to your child.
- Manage nasal congestion conservatively. Use a bulb syringe to clear mucus and help clear breathing passages.
- If your child is having difficulty breathing, keeping him or her in an upright position usually helps make breathing easier.
For more serious RSV infections:
- Your child's doctor or healthcare provider will be able to assess the severity of an RSV infection. If the infection progresses to bronchiolitis, pneumonia, or if other complications develop, additional steps, measures or precautions may be taken to manage your child's condition.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory Syncytial Virus web page, (accessed 9/4/2008)
2Blue Shield of California, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection, (accessed 9/4/2008)