What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus and how to avoid it Part 2

How is RSV diagnosed in a child?

The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about any recent illness in your family or other children in childcare or school. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as a nasal swab or wash. This is a painless test to look for the virus in fluid from the nose.

How is RSV treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

Antibiotics are not used to treat RSV. Treatment for RSV is done to help ease symptoms. Treatment may include:

More fluids. It’s very important to make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids. If needed, your child will get an intravenous (IV) line to give fluids and electrolytes.
Oxygen. This is extra oxygen given through a mask, nasal prongs, or an oxygen tent.
Suctioning of mucus. A thin tube is put into the lungs to remove extra mucus.
Bronchodilator medicines. These may be used to open your child’s airways. They are often given in an aerosol mist by a mask or through an inhaler.
Tube feeding. This may be done if a baby has trouble sucking. A thin tube is put through the baby’s nose and down into the stomach. Liquid nutrition is sent through the tube.
Mechanical ventilation. A child who is very ill may need to be put on a breathing machine (ventilator) to help with breathing.
Antivirals. Some children with severe infections may need treatment with an antiviral medicines.
Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.