Child laying down sick with mom comforting

Worried About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)? MD Now Can Help You Breathe Easier

Watching your child struggle to breathe is a scary experience for any parent—but it’s happening more and more every day, due to a significant surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases across the nation. The combination of COVID-19, flu, and now RSV continues to fill doctor’s offices and hospitals with anxious parents and sick kids.

Adults can also get RSV, although the symptoms are usually mild. However, RSV can cause severe infection in some people, including infants, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and others. RSV in infants and young children are most common.

If you’re concerned about RSV, your local MD Now Urgent Care clinic is here for you. Keep reading to learn about RSV symptoms, RSV testing, RSV treatment, and how MD Now can help.

What Is Respiratory Syncytial Virus?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract. RSV can sometimes spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs). RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children under age one in the United States—and almost all children are infected with the virus by age two.

Due to mask-wearing, social distancing, and other COVID-19 safety restrictions, RSV cases declined. But today is a different story, and RSV cases are now on a major upswing.

RSV usually peaks during flu season, occurring most often in the late fall through early spring. This year, the spread of RSV and other seasonal respiratory illnesses started earlier as well.

RSV Symptoms

Cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat—we could probably all recite these symptoms by now.

RSV symptoms typically appear 4-6 days after exposure, and most mild RSV infections will go away on their own in a week or two. However, when the infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract, RSV can become much more dangerous.

Severe RSV symptoms include:

  • High-grade fever
  • Excessive coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish-colored skin (due to lack of oxygen)

RSV in Infants and Children

As you can imagine, symptoms like these are especially worrisome in young children who cannot communicate or try to manage their symptoms.

If your child’s RSV infection leads to bronchiolitis, their symptoms may also include:

  • Bobbing their head or flaring their nostrils as they breathe
  • Rhythmic grunting as they breathe

Watch your child’s rib cage as they inhale—if you see it cave in (or form an upside-down “V” shape under their neck), they are working too hard to breathe. Escalate care right away for RSV testing and treatment.

You should also seek immediate medical attention if your child:

  • Shows signs of dehydration (such as dry mouth, little to no urine output, sunken eyes, or extreme sleepiness)
  • Develops a bluish or gray color on their tongue, lips, or skin
  • Is lethargic
  • Has a fever over 104°F (or over 100.4°F if under three months old)

RSV Testing

At MD Now, we offer a full range of medical testing and screening options, including RSV testing. Our physician-led team of healthcare professionals can also test for COVID-19, the flu, and many other conditions.

A rapid RSV antigen test using a nasal swab is the most common test for RSV and is available for children 5 years and under.

RSV Treatment

Again, most children and adults recover from RSV in a week or two. Watchful waiting and symptom control are key to an effective recovery.

Once RSV is confirmed, your MD Now provider may recommend over-the-counter fever reducers, nasal saline drops or suctioning, and other at-home remedies to help manage symptoms. If your infant or young child has RSV, try to keep them as comfortable as possible. Give them plenty of fluids and be sure to watch for any signs of dehydration.

Moderate cases of RSV may require breathing treatments to help keep the lungs working properly, while severe cases or low oxygen levels may require emergency treatment in a hospital. Your MD Now provider can ensure that you or your child receive the RSV treatment you need.

Visit MD Now & Know Now

From babies as young as three months old to the elderly (and everyone in between), you can count on MD Now to help you stay healthy through COVID-19, flu, and RSV season. No appointment is necessary—just walk in.

About MD Now® Urgent Care

MD Now Urgent Care is Florida’s largest urgent care operator with more than 75 state-of-the-art clinics conveniently located across Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties. MD Now Urgent Care’s physician-led team of healthcare professionals provide superior healthcare through a comprehensive lineup of urgent care, preventative healthcare, and occupational health services seven days a week, 365 days a year. MD Now Urgent Care is proud to be affiliated with HCA Florida Healthcare. For more information, visit www.MDNOW.com.

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