RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms.  People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting exposed.  Symptoms include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing.  Symptoms can appear in stages over a few days. Infants may only display irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties as symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two but RSV can be serious for infants and older adults.

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under the age of 12 months.

Bronchiolitis and Bronchitis both affect the airways in the lungs.  Bronchitis affects the larger airways and bronchiolitis affects the smaller airways.  Bronchitis usually affects older children and adults, while bronchiolitis is more common in younger children. 

Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two but you can take steps to relieve symptoms.

  • Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Never give aspirin to children.)
  • Drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children.

If symptoms persist or seem severe, call our triage line so we can assess if your child needs to be seen, as RSV can become very serious, especially for infants.


Baby & Child Associates
9140 Ward Parkway, Suite 201  •  Kansas City, Missouri 64114  •  816-523-0066