Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) In Babies

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) In Babies


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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

The clinical manifestations of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in babies coincides in many respects with implications of usual cold therefore it is often difficult to diagnose RSV. Most of children with RSV recover from this disease without assistance while growing up, but some of them need intensive treatment.

The research showed that more than 125 000 children of early age are hospitalized with complications after RSV. Respiratory syncytial viral infection is the main reason for frequent hospitalization of children at the age of less than twelve months. But adults can become the victims of RSV also. Prematurely born children and children with congenital heart disease or diseases of lungs are most subject to risk of RSV.

What is the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Babies?

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is the widespread virus affecting children of early age (younger than two years old). It is often difficult to distinguish it from usual cold as symptoms of RSV are similar to initial presentation of the cold. RSV is the most frequent reason of a lesion of the lower respiratory tracts (LRT) in children of early age (under one year), and may lead the disease to lethal outcome. In children of advanced age and adults RSV causes more mild affection of respiratory tract which is represented by nasopharyngitis, bronchitis including an exacerbation of chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. This is self-recovering state which lasts from a week to ten days. Complications after RSV can lead to asthma and emergence of goose breathing in children.

Who is Subject to Risk of RSV Development?

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Babies under half a year are especially subject to risk of development of RSV as their lungs aren't quite developed yet.

The following categories of children are also subject to risk of the acute respiratory syncytial viral infection:

  • prematurely born children which are born in four weeks prior to the usual term;
  • children with congenital diseases of lungs;
  • children with congenital heart diseases;
  • children with a low weight at the birth (less than 3 kilograms);
  • the children who are brought up in a day nursery;
  • children, brothers or sisters of which attend school;
  • twins or triplets;
  • children in the presence of whom someone may smoke;
  • children in whose family there are cases of asthma.

Diagnostics of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Fast confirmation of the diagnosis is demanded, as a rule, in case of respiratory syncytial viral infection in children only. Adults bear it as a usual SARS without the need for hospitalization and making a decision of urgent medical measures provision.

It is used:

  • general blood test;
  • chest x-ray examination;
  • pulsioxymetry;
  • enzyme immunoassay;
  • immunofluorescent method;
  • polymerase chain reaction.

The choice of researches is selected by the attending doctor.

Symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

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The incubation period at infection with respiratory syncytial viral infection lasts from 3 to 6 days. The course of the disease in many respects depends on the age of the patient. Adults bear the RSV-infection easily in the form of a classical SARS without the pronounced intoxication.

Patients are disturbed by:

  • weakness, slackness in a moderate form;
  • headache;
  • body temperature increase to 37,5-38 °C;
  • nose congestion;
  • irritation in throat;
  • paroxysmal dehydrated cough;
  • shortness of breath.

Treatment of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

The treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis or in clinical settings. Hospitalization is required to:

  • children upon 6 months of age;
  • children with apnoea episodes;
  • patients with signs of respiratory insufficiency;
  • patients with need for continuous sanitation of respiratory tract;
  • in the presence of accompanying severe pathologies.

It is also recommended to clinic hospitalize of children at whom signs of insufficiency of food and difficulties in feeding are revealed. Social indications are taken into consideration, too. Among them are: absence of the person, which should look after the patient during the period of illness, continuous contact with other children in children's homes.

At infection of respiratory syncytial virus, treatment should involve the following actions:

  1. Hydration, that is plentiful drink, introduction of glucose-salt solutions intravenously, through the nasogastric tube.
  2. Inhalations with fast-release B2-agonists (salbutamol).
  3. Clearance of mucus accumulations in the nose.
  4. Oxygenotherapy by the doctor's orders.

Without the doctor’s prescription it is impossible to use mucolytics, because the volume of bronchial secret increases and the respiratory insufficiencies are exacerbated. The bronchial secret isn't required to dilute it additionally due to its liquid structure.

Advisability of application of glucocorticosteroids, both inhalation, and system is examined. It is not recommended to include vibration massage in the scheme of therapy of bronchiolitis because of its low efficiency.

AVL (artificial ventilation of lungs) is used at heavy respiratory insufficiency, or apnoea. Need of prescription of ribavirin as antiviral preparation is defined by the doctor.

Providing Care to Sick Child

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  1. Give the child to drink more often. While breastfeeding, it is necessary to enlarge the number of feedings.
  2. Drip several drops of normal saline solution for nose in each nostril to prevent release of mucus. For the mucus suction from the nose use the syringe with a container.
  3. Lift the child’s head and support it in such position to ease the respiration through stuffy nose.
  4. Indoors, where there is the child, it is impossible to smoke, burn down firewood or scented candles. Smell of a smoke and fresh paint is also contraindicative to the child.

Prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

  1. Isolate the child from patients with the chills and other viral diseases.
  2. Dress the child warmly to reduce probability of hypothermia.
  3. Carefully wash hands after having touched a patient with the cold.
  4. Don't allow anybody to smoke in the presence of the child.
  5. Try not to take the child to the places of many people.

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