Disorder: RSV

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Causes

Respiratory syncytial virus enters your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. It spreads easily when infectious respiratory secretions — such as those from coughing or sneezing — are inhaled or passed to others through direct contact, such as shaking hands.

People who are at a high risk

  • Infants younger than 6 months of age
  • Younger children, especially under 1 year of age, who were born prematurely or who have an underlying condition, such as congenital heart or lung disease
  • Children with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or transplantation
  • Infants in crowded child care settings
  • Older adults
  • Adults with asthma, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • People with certain transplanted organs, leukemia or HIV/AIDS

Pathophysiology

RSV begins in the nasopharynx. The virus then spreads to the small bronchiolar epithelium that lines the small airways within the lungs. Infection of the lower respiratory tract can lead to edema, increased mucous production, and necrosis of epithelial cells. These lead to small airway obstruction, air trapping, and increased airway resistance.

Manifestations (signs and symptoms):

Usually occur four to six days after exposure to virus. Includes congested or runny nose, dry cough, low-grade fever, sore throat, mild headache. In severe cases, fever, severe cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, cyanosis.

Complications:

Pneumonia, bronchiolitis, middle ear infection, asthma, recurring infections, hospitalization.

Treatment

Doctors may recommend medications such as Tylenol to reduce fever. Hospitals may provide patients with severe cases of RSV with IV fluids and humidified oxygen. Small children and infants may be hooked up to ventilation machines. Bronchodilators such as albuterol may be used to relieve wheezing.
RSV in Infants and Children - Syptoms, Dangers, and Prevention
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