Chelsea Wicks, MD discusses the symptoms of RSV and bronchiolitis and what you can do to stop the spread. Know the signs of these illnesses — especially if your child is high-risk.
Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the small airways in the lungs that tends to happen in infants and young children, often due to viral infection. The symptoms are often similar to an asthma attack. There tends to be a bad cough and it can frequently lead to difficulty breathing.
What Is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is one of the specific viruses that can cause bronchiolitis. RSV tends to be prevalent in our community of Northern Nevada in late winter, typically February and March. This year, I continue to see children with RSV even this late in the season. This virus can be deadly to young infants, especially those who were born prematurely and young children with chronic lung disease, including asthma.
RSV is spread by respiratory droplets and is highly contagious. It can travel through the air and can live on hard surfaces such as counter tops and door knobs. The best way to prevent RSV is good hand washing techniques and limiting exposure to others who are ill with upper respiratory infections. Though it can be deadly in small infants, it may present as a common cold in an adult.