Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis is a respiratory illness caused by the respiratory syncytial virus. It is a common infection that affects the lower respiratory tract, particularly the bronchioles, in infants and young children. RSV bronchiolitis usually occurs in the fall and winter months, and it can be quite severe in infants and young children.
Symptoms of RSV bronchiolitis include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, fever, and a runny nose. Infants and young children may also experience irritability, decreased appetite, and lethargy. In severe cases, RSV bronchiolitis can lead to respiratory distress and require hospitalization.
Treatment for RSV bronchiolitis is primarily supportive, meaning that the focus is on managing symptoms and preventing complications. This may involve providing oxygen therapy, administering bronchodilators to help open the airways, and using suction to clear mucus from the airways. In some cases, antiviral medication may be prescribed.
Prevention is key in avoiding RSV bronchiolitis. It is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding contact with people who are sick. Infants who are at high risk for severe RSV infections may be given a medication called palivizumab to help prevent RSV infection. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider about whether this medication is appropriate for your child.