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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > RSV Infection: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

RSV Infection

Alternate Names : Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

RSV Infection | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the infection?

Adults and older children with RSV usually do not need treatment. Over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms can be used as needed. Infants with RSV or those with weak immune systems may be admitted to the hospital for monitoring and treatment.

Treatment for RSV often involves the use of humidified or moistened oxygen. Special medications, such as albuterol, can be mixed with the oxygen to help open the airways. Fluids can be given through an intravenous line (IV), a thin tube connected to a vein in the arm. In severe cases, antibiotics, usually a medication called ribavarin, may be given. In rare cases, a person may need to be connected to an ventilator.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Most treatments for RSV have few side effects. Ribavarin is not given routinely for RSV infections. This is because it is often not effective and sometimes makes breathing worse. Ventilators can rarely cause lung damage or a new infection.

What happens after treatment for the infection?

Most people recover completely and return to normal activities as soon as they feel able. A person may still have the virus in his or her secretions for 1-2 weeks after symptoms go away. This is important to remember in terms of spreading the infection. Children in day care may be asked to stay home for a few days to prevent an outbreak.

How is the infection monitored?

Those with severe breathing difficulty need close monitoring in a hospital until the condition improves. For those at home with RSV, any new or worsening symptoms should be reported immediately to the healthcare provider.

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RSV Infection: Prevention & Expectations


Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 07/06/01

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