What Is RSV?

Bronchiolitis is a disease of the small airways most commonly caused by viruses. The most common virus to cause bronchiolitis is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV commonly occurs across the winter months, but this can vary by geographic location. Because children depend on their smaller airways more than adults, they are more susceptible to the effects of bronchiolitis and more likely to have wheezing or respiratory distress.

Symptoms of RSV

Common symptoms include fever, cough, copious secretions, wheezing or respiratory distress. Newborns or premature infants may present with apnea. Children under 2 years are particularly susceptible to respiratory distress and hospitalization. Premature infants and children with chronic lung disease have a particularly high hospitalization rate and severe disease rate. Treatment for bronchiolitis is supportive care, while the body’s immune system eliminates the infection.

Preventing RSV

Synagis/palivizumab is a preventative treatment available to children with chronic lung disease due to prematurity or other pulmonary illnesses. It is administered as an injection once per month during the RSV season (generally October through March). Qualification for Synagis is determined by your child’s specialist, guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and your insurance provider.

The physicians at Austin Children’s Chest Associates conduct the area’s oldest and largest Synagis program in Austin. This program has been successful at reducing the hospitalization rate for infants to less than one percent.