How Is RSV Different From a Cold?

November 1, 2022

How Is RSV Different From a Cold?

As the weather gets colder, there is a lot to look forward to. The onset of the holiday season and the promise of a new year can be really exciting! However, this time of year also means the arrival of cold, flu and RSV season.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, can be scary to think about as new parents, as it can be a really dangerous or even deadly virus if your baby or infant contracts it. Due to the fact that RSV and the common cold can both start out with very similar symptoms, it is crucial for you to keep an eye on your child if he or she starts to feel sick.

Our team at AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail can help ease your worries by explaining what RSV-specific symptoms you should be looking out for below.

Will My Baby Get Really Sick With RSV?

When you or your baby contracts RSV, the irritation and inflammation typically affects the lungs and upper respiratory tract. The irritation is usually what kickstarts those initial cold symptoms like a runny nose, congestion or a mild cough in most otherwise healthy adults and children.

The danger to your infant comes from the fact that your baby’s airways are so tiny and sensitive. Even just the smallest amount of inflammation can result in breathing troubles and further complications.

Signs of Breathing Difficulty

  • Flaring nostrils while breathing
  • Belly breathing
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Chest retractions

When Should I Take My Baby to the Doctor for RSV Symptoms?

Just because your baby has RSV doesn’t guarantee that a serious infection is going to occur. Sometimes babies will experience mild cold-like symptoms and that’s it! In those cases, a visit to your medical provider isn’t necessary.

However, any time you notice that your baby is experiencing trouble breathing, that should be treated like an emergency. This could look like rapid or shallow intakes of breath or a grayish color to his or her skin. These symptoms are not associated with the common cold and so should be treated emergently.

How to Avoid Future RSV Infections

  • Don’t kiss your baby while you are sick.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t let others kiss your baby.
  • Cover your sneeze or cough.

RSV should always be taken seriously. If you are concerned about the health of your infant, come visit us right away at AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail.

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