How is RSV treated?

If your child is having difficulty breathing or has asthma, your doctor may advise gentle nasal suction of mucus and a humidifier to help open his or her airways. Inhaled medications are sometimes helpful in the hospital setting.

Some youngsters with bronchiolitis may have to be hospitalized for treatment with oxygen. If your child is unable to drink because of rapid breathing, he or she may need to receive intravenous fluids. On rare occasions, infected babies will need a respirator to help them breathe. Antibiotics are not used for treating viral infections, including those caused by RSV.

There are things you can do at home to help your child feel more comfortable, although any illness that complicates your child’s breathing should be evaluated first by your child’s doctor.

How can I make my child feel better at home?

  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around your child or in the home. This can complicate breathing.
  • Try using a cool mist vaporizer to soothe dry breathing passages if recommended by your doctor. Hot-air vaporizers should be avoided because of the risk for scald burns.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids, such as breast milk or formula for infants, or milk, juices, and water for older children.
  • For fever, give your child medicine such as acetaminophen. Do not give your child aspirin.
  • Saline nasal drops my help loosen mucus in the nose.
  • Blow little noses frequently (or use a nasal aspirator for infants).
  • Allow your child plenty of rest, as needed.
  • Give all medicines as instructed by your child’s doctor.

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