What is the RS virus?
The Respiratory Syncytial Virus – RS virus or RSV for short – usually proceeds mildly. Often it is a cold and you have to deal with a lot of snot and a slight fever. But sometimes the infection is serious. Then the small tubes of the lungs become inflamed, this is called bronchiolitis. Your child then produces a lot of mucus, coughs a lot, becomes short of breath and wheezes. This can be dangerous for children under 2 years old and especially for babies under 6 months. In the worst case, hospitalization will follow because your child can no longer drink properly due to shortness of breath or does not absorb enough oxygen in the blood.
How contagious is the RS virus?
The RS virus spreads through droplets in the air when coughing, sneezing and talking and through physical contact. It’s very contagious. Brothers and sisters can easily infect each other. Your child can also contract RSV at the day care center or playgroup. So have handkerchiefs at the ready, sneeze and cough into your armpit and wash your hands. Also be careful with bedding, baby and children’s clothing, banisters and toys, because the virus can survive on them for hours.
What are the symptoms of the RS virus?
It is difficult to prevent infection, so pay close attention to the symptoms:
- stuffy nose with chewy snot
- nostrils: wide open nostrils due to shortness of breath in children aged 0 to 2 years
- bad food and drink
- wheezing or raspy breathing
- a fever
My child has the RS virus. What should I do?
Make sure your child drinks enough. And plenty of rest: put your child to sleep when they are tired. Does he want to be near you? Then let him sleep in the pram or in a camp bed in the living room. Don’t visit the sick, that’s way too busy. With a sore throat, a spoonful of honey or tea with honey can have a soothing effect. Please note: children younger than 1 year are not allowed honey yet! Is your child very ill? Then give paracetamol. And, perhaps a no-brainer: don’t smoke near your child.
When to call the doctor?
- If the skin between your baby’s ribs pulls in during inhalation: your child is then very short of breath
- With a high fever (more than 39 degrees) or if the fever lasts longer than 3 days
- If your child’s breathing sometimes stops for a few seconds
- For drowsiness: your child is sleepy and difficult to wake up
- If you are concerned
For more information about the RS virus, visit the RIVM website. And don’t you trust the situation? Then contact your doctor immediately.