In this section
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause
of respiratory and breathing infections in children. It is
a virus that causes infection of the lungs and breathing
RSV in children is normally associated with
moderate to severe cold-like symptoms and will usually cause some
or all of the following symptoms:
These symptoms generally last between eight and 15 days. RSV is a
common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year old.
Children with RSV are infectious immediately
before the symptoms appear.
Most children aged under two years will have
been infected by RSV. Re-infections usually occur throughout
RSV spreads quickly and easily among children
through activities such as coughing and sneezing, sharing of cups and
other objects that have been in the infected child's mouth, nose or
eyes. RSV is very contagious and can live on surfaces for
hours, and on unwashed hands for 30-60 minutes. Good hygiene habits
can reduce the chance of your child getting the virus or passing it
on to others.
If your child has RSV:
Dial 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department if your child is having trouble breathing, or is breathing very
quickly, or their lips or fingernails look blue.