RSV symptoms in toddlers – you must not ignore.

Known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV is a common type of cold that is caused in infants and toddlers. It somewhat causes breathing and respiratory infections in babies. It is a type of virus that causes infection in the lungs as well as the breathing passages. Almost all children up to 2 years of age tend to get RSV at least once or once a year.

This virus mainly occurs in the late spring months but can vary from different parts of the country. It could lead to being highly serious if not taken care of properly. In this article, we are going to provide you with some detailed studies about RSV symptoms in toddlers and what steps you can take post that.

Is RSV contagious?

RSV can spread when a person suffering from the same –

  • Sneezes
  • Coughs

You tend to get the virus droplets from coughing or sneezing.

Touching a surface that has got a virus in it like the toys or the thing touched by the infants.

The ones who are infected with RSV are contagious between 3 to 8 days. It might become contagious when it showcases signs of illness post a day or two. Though, infants have weakened immune systems. Thus, there are higher chances of getting it all contagious. RSV is going to be contagious in different ways just like if you are suffering from a cough or old or normal illness. 

RSV is a contagious virus. It can lead to causing serious infections like bronchiolitis. It is like an inflammation of the small airways in the lung. Furthermore, it can even lead to pneumonia, an infection making the lungs suffer. These symptoms or types of diseases are more common in children younger than 1 year of age.

How long does RSV last in toddlers?

In most cases, RSV lasts for a week or two in toddlers or infants. There is no specific treatment for RSV infection at the moment. Researchers are working diligently for developing vaccines as well as antivirals.

RSV symptoms in toddlers

Toddlers infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after they are infected with the virus. 

Here are some of the common RSV Symptoms – 

  • Loss in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing 
  • Fever
  • Runny nose 

The above symptoms usually appear in one after the other stage.

Technically, most children get an RSV infection by the time they turn 2 years old. Most of the time the infection tends to cause a mild, cold-like illness. It may even lead to serious illnesses like –

Bronchiolitis – an inflammation of the small airway passing through the lungs

Pneumonia – inflammation caused in the lungs.

Early Symptoms of RSV

You may not be able to detect right on the first day. Some of the early symptoms include –

  • Runny nose
  • Loss in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulty

RSV symptoms in young infants

Infants or toddlers do show some symptoms. This is different from the ones in adults. The ones who are 6 months or less, the RSC symptoms could be –

  • Irritability
  • Decreased activity
  • Loss in appetite
  • Apnoea (pause in breathing for more than 10 seconds)
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Fever might not always happen in the case of RSV infections.

How to treat RSV in toddlers?

Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. You will not find any special medication for toddlers or infants. But here is some care that you can opt for –

1. More fluids

The toddler should get more fluid. Your child will get an IV line for fluids and electrolytes if needed.

2. Oxygen

Extra oxygen through mask, oxygen text or nasal prongs could be helpful

3. Suctioning of mucus

It is like a thin tube that is put into the lungs for removing any extra mucus from the body.

4. Bronchodilator medicines

It helps in opening your child’s airways. They are often given in the form of an aerosol mist through a mask or through an inhaler.

5. Tube feeding

This should be done if the baby has trouble sucking. There is a thin tube that is put through the baby’s nose and down to the stomach. Liquid nutrition is passed on through the tube.

6. Mechanical ventilation

A toddler who is very ill might need to be put on a mechanical ventilator to support breathing.

7. Antivirals

Some children suffering from severe infections may need treatment through antiviral medicines.

8. Managing fever & pain

For reducing pain and fever, try giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

When to take a baby with RSV to the hospital?

Below are the reasons why you should take your little one suffering from RSV infection to the health care provider –

  • If your toddler is showing chronic signs of sickness and RSV symptoms.
  • If he/she is less than 6 months of age or seems at higher risk.
  • Has been coughing for more than 4 days
  • Having the issue of breathing or apnoea
  • Having thick mucus from the mouth or nose that is turning yellow, green or gray
  • Seems to have no energy. There is less activity or not having proper food at all.
  • If your little one is not urinating or passing water or the diaper is not wet for 6 hours or more.

If there is a fever –

  • 3 months or less with a temperature of 100.4 º F (38º C) or higher.
  • Older than 3 months, a temperature over 102º F (38.9º C) that lasts more than 2 days. 


RSV is a common infection that ought to occur in infants and toddlers. The fact is, as a parent you need to be extra careful during this period and post it. When you are taking proper care, the RSV infection will pass away in less than a week or so. 

Write A Comment