Respiratory syncytial virus, otherwise known as RSV, is a virus that infects the breathing passages and lungs. RSV can infect a person more than once.
Although the virus only causes a regular cold in adults, it can cause far greater problems in children. As a matter of fact, RSV is a notoriously common cause of respiratory illness in young children.
High fevers are one of the symptoms that accompany RSV.
With that being said, it is important to know how long does fever last with RSV and when should you visit the doctor.
What Are the Symptoms of RSV?
Knowing the symptoms of RSV will help you act faster. Of course, the sooner you begin with proper medical treatment, the better your chances to successfully get rid of the virus.
Children under the age of 3 may experience the following symptoms:
- High fever
- Bad cough
- Difficult breathing
RSV can cause pneumonia, ear infection (otitis media), and bronchiolitis in children aged 3 or younger.
This virus is most common in children between 2 and 6 months old. Children who had issues with their immune system or had lung and heart problems are at a bigger risk of getting infected with the respiratory syncytial virus.
Adults with underlying lung diseases or compromised immune systems also belong to the risk group.
Children over the age of 3 usually only experience symptoms of a regular cold, such as a stuffy nose, sore throat, low fever, and mild headache. However, if the virus is left untreated, serious complications might also occur.
What You Should Know About RSV
RSV is very contagious. Although the virus is usually passed from person to person by sneezing or coughing (released droplets contain RSV), it can be spread by touching infected items as well.
The reason for that is the ability of this virus to survive on surfaces for hours. With that being said, RSV can be passed by touching infected doorknobs, counters, clothing, or other people’s hands.
RSV infections are common in epidemics that last anywhere from late fall to early spring.
An RSV infection and its symptoms, fever included, usually last anywhere from 7 to 14 days. However, if any complications occur, the virus can last even up to three weeks.
Problems with the respiratory systems that are caused by the respiratory syncytial virus last up to a week. In case no proper treatment is provided, respiratory problems such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis can go on for several weeks.
When it comes to young children, doctors don’t need to distinguish a common cold from an RSV infection if the child is otherwise healthy. They will use exams and medical history to diagnose the virus.
However, if a child is suffering from a chronic condition or has had a history of serious health problems, doctors will diagnose RSV through a specific exam that includes testing nasal fluids, as well as collecting samples and examining them further.
How to Treat RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus infections usually go away without medical treatment as most cases are mild. However, there are successful ways to ease the symptoms and speed up recovery.
The first thing that you need to need to know is that antibiotics won’t work for RSV. If you are too sick to do normal activities, it is advised that you stay at home until you recover.
Here are some tips on treating RSV in children and adults:
- Put a humidifier in your room in order to breathe more easily.
- Drink plenty of water.
- In case of a stuffy nose, use saline nose drops. You can find these in any pharmacy.
- Use acetaminophen to treat your headache, sore throat, and fever. You can use Panadol, Tylenol, etc.
- Although adults can use aspirin to lower the fever and pain, it shouldn’t be given to children as it can cause liver damage.
- You can use suction bulbs to clear the nose of young children.
Of course, preventing RSV infections is better than having to deal with their symptoms. Here is what you can do to minimize the chances of getting infected by the respiratory syncytial virus:
- Remember to wash your hands often.
- Take regular baths.
- Change your clothes regularly.
- Do not touch your nose, eyes, or mouth without washing your hands, especially if you were around someone who’s already infected by RSV.
- Throw away used tissues.
- Have a separate cup that only you will drink from.
Infants can also get injected with RSV antibodies on a monthly basis in order to prevent RSV or similar respiratory diseases from occurring. The period from November to April is considered peak RSV season.
When Should You Visit Your Doctor?
As mentioned, RSV can cause terrible damage in people who are suffering from other health conditions and complicate their situation even more. That’s why it’s important to know when to call the doctor.
Since RSV symptoms disappear easily in adults, you should only visit the doctor if your condition gets worse or lasts longer than three weeks. The following examples are indicators that you need medical attention for your child:
- In case your infant has some of the mentioned symptoms of RSV infection, visit the doctor immediately.
- If your child has a fever above 38.3 degrees Celsius (101 degrees Fahrenheit).
- If you notice your child’s mucus being yellow or green.
- If your child is constantly tired.
- If your child has difficulty breathing or is experiencing chest pain.
- If your child’s lips or skin have suddenly changed color.
The Final Words
RSV infections aren’t that dangerous in adults. However, they can have a serious effect on children’s health, especially if they’re 3 years old or younger.
The methods outlined in this article should help keep your young ones safe from RSV and relieve the symptoms in case they’ve already contracted the virus. Some of the most common symptoms include a sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, fever, and headache.
In case you were wondering how long does fever last with RSV, the answer is anywhere between one and two weeks, although in some cases the symptoms can last for up to three weeks.