Respiratory Syncytial Virus

By Krista Rowell

Definition of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system.

Body system or systems affected by this condition or disease.

The System that is affected by this virus is the respiratory system. It is affected by this because this virus causes an infection of the lungs. To sum up how this virus affects the respiratory system is that it infects the lungs and makes breathing harder for people.

How the Respiratory system works normally and how it works when it's affected with R.S.V.

The body system this affects is the respiratory system. The way the body system normally works is it supplies oxygen to the blood in order for the blood to distribute oxygen to all the parts of the body.

Who it affectes

People who are affected by this virus are commonly children between infancy and four years old.

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Onset-How does R.S.V arise?

This condition is found in humans. This virus spreads when a person comes into direct contact with an infected person’s body fluids.This virus can be on environmental surfaces for hours and on hands for more than one and a half hours. It’s a seasonal virus which most commonly occurs in the winter and spring.

How is R.S.V diagnosed? How does a doctor determine that an individual has R.S.V

The doctor will ask questions,perform a physical exam, and may need to send a sample of body fluids to a lab for verification. If there is an outbreak in the community a diagnosis could be made easier.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this virus:

  • congested or runny nose
  • dry cough
  • low-grade fever
  • sore throat
  • mild headache

In severe cases Respiratory Syncytial Virus can cause a lower respiratory tract illness such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis. After being infected by the virus symptoms will occur between two and eight days later. Sometimes the symptoms may resemble the common cold.

Severe case symptoms:

  • fever
  • severe cough
  • wheezing
  • rapid breathing or difficulty breathing,which may make the child prefer to sit up rather than to lie down
  • Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)

RSV disease (serious threat to children)

Treatment for R.S.V

A child who is having a hard time breathing or is dehydrated might need to be cared for in the hospital. The child may need medical treatments. In rare cases some children get antiviral medication while they are in the hospital.


More severe RSV disease may occur in the following infants:

  • premature infants
  • infants with chronic lung disease
  • infants whose immune system does not work well
  • infants with certain forms of heart disease
  • it is rare that RSV infection can cause death in infants
  • children who have had RSV bronchiolitis may be more likely to develop asthma


I had this virus when I was a baby.When I went to the hospital my family was very scared about what was going to happen to me. My mom and dad also had pneumonia when they were children and as they, got older they developed asthma.

My mom is always telling me that as I get older that I could develop asthma like they did. I am more likely to develop asthma where I have already had R.S.V.

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