While COVID-19 weighs heavy on our minds, it is not the only virus we’re facing. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other seasonal viruses returned in full force this spring, and they show no sign of letting up as we head into fall. RSV is a common cause of cough in kids and is the most common cause of pneumonia in infants. RSV can cause mild respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose), or it can become severe and require hospitalization for respiratory support.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly all children in the U.S. become infected with RSV by age 2, and 75,000 to 125,000 of them are hospitalized each year. Globally, RSV affects an estimated 64 million people and causes 160,000 deaths each year.
Why RSV is on the Rise Among Children … and When Parents Need to Act
COVID-19 delayed the normal RSV season—RSV cases dropped by 97% during the pandemic. Children who haven’t been previously exposed to RSV because of masking and social distancing are now vulnerable. “Babies who were born during or right before the pandemic may not have been exposed to RSV as they normally would have,” explains Dr. Steven Goudy, a pediatric ENT and founder of Dr. Noze Best. “This means older infants and toddlers might now be at increased risk of RSV-associated illness.”
What are the symptoms of RSV—and when should I be concerned?
RSV starts with cold-like symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose, and fever, but it can become much more serious—even life threatening. A child or adult infected with RSV usually displays symptoms within four to six days of contracting it, and they are typically contagious for three to eight days. In very young infants infected with RSV, the only symptoms may be decreased activity, irritability, and breathing difficulties.
“Mild symptoms like a runny nose, coughing and sneezing aren’t cause for alarm,” says Dr. Goudy. “But you should be on the lookout for fast breathing, flaring of the nostrils, or belly exertion (pushing the belly in and out). If your baby is lethargic, struggling to breathe, or not eating, they may need to be treated in a hospital.” *
Should my child get tested for RSV?
If your child has cold or flu-like symptoms and has tested negative for COVID-19, the CDC encourages RSV testing, particularly in the southern U.S., where RSV cases have spiked most dramatically (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas).
How is RSV treated?
There is no specific treatment for RSV, but there are actions you can take to help your child. Breastfeed or bottle feed often to prevent dehydration and clear out your baby's nose with a nasal aspirator to help them breathe more easily.
“One of the things that parents really dread is getting the diagnosis of RSV,” says Dr. Goudy. “If your baby contracts respiratory syncytial virus, he or she can be in a lot of respiratory distress, and certainly you need to pay attention to their breathing. Babies under 12 months of age can only breathe through their nose, so if they get RSV, or if they get a really bad cold, their nasal passages need to be cleared using a nasal aspirator. If they're using additional muscles to breathe, they look lethargic, or you just feel like something's seriously wrong, you need to seek medical attention right away.”
How the NozeBot can help
The NozeBot’s hospital-grade suction and ergonomic design makes it easy clear your child’s nasal passages and bring some relief. And, unlike common aspirators that requite mouth suction, caregivers using the device won’t be inhaling the virus directly into their own lungs.
But don’t take our word for it—here’s what parents have been sharing in recent product reviews on Amazon:
“My 3 yr old son has been hospitalized 3x for RSV and this little machine is similar to the one they use in the NICU/PICU. Honestly, this is my best purchase as a mother.” — Rosie A.
“ I originally bought the machine after having a very scary hospital stay with RSV, and am hoping to stay on top her running noses more proactively, now. I was skeptical of how good the suction would be, and it is 100%! I highly recommend!” — Jennifer Z.
“My daughter was hospitalized with RSV this week and I did not know how we were going to suction her when we got home. The one we had was not going to cut it after using the hospital one. We ordered the NozeBot and it’s been life changing!! Works just as well as what they were using in the hospital!! 10/10 recommend!” — TheBabesKnow
Looking For More on RSV? Check out these:
- Signs of Respiratory Distress in Children
- What Parent's Need to Know About RSV
- How to Prepare For An Early RSV Season
* The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition for you or your child.
At what age is an baby no longer at risk of RSV due to kissing baby on the face?
I’m a new mom and my almost 8 month old son has been diagnosed with RSV late last night. I’m scared. I do not know if what I am doing is enough because his breathing is just getting worse. Pls any helpful tip is needed.
Once a child has been infected with RSV would that make him more susceptible to repeat infections more often? By Rosi Ruiz
My Grandaughter in Florida was diagnosed with RSV last night. She is 5 months old and her mother is very worried as am I. I plan to gather as much medical information on this subject as I can find.