Symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) - A Cause of Bronchiolitis
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of inflammation of the small airways in the lungs (bronchiolitis) and of pneumonia in children under 1 year of age. It also is significant cause of respiratory illnesses in older adults.
Early Symptoms of RSV include a
- runny nose and decreased appetite,
- sneezing, and
- a mild fever at one to three days.
- Bronchiolitis is a viral illness caused seen most commonly during the winter
- Bronchiolitis is caused by many viruses. The most common viral trigger is the
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
- Symptoms of bronchiolitis include nasal congestion and moderate non-purulent
(doesn't contain pus) nasal discharge associated with pulmonary distress that
may range from mild to severe.
- Bronchiolitis is diagnosed based on the person's
signs and symptoms, age, season of the year, findings on physical exam,
assessment of the patient's blood oxygenation, and a nasal swab to determine the
specific viral cause.
- Bronchiolitis is generally a self-limited disease and can
be treated at home. Most children do not require medications; however, high-risk
infants and toddlers may need to be hospitalized due to respiratory distress
and/or to maintain hydration.
- Bronchiolitis prevention strategies range from
thorough hand washing by caregivers to rare administration of palivizumab
(Synagis) to infants of selected high-risk.
- The prognosis for a person with bronchiolitis is excellent.
What is bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is a viral infection affecting both the upper respiratory
region (nose, mouth and throat) and lower respiratory tract (lungs). It is an
illness in which effects are most severe in children under two years of age.
Bronchiolitis is most commonly seen during the winter season (November thru
March in the northern hemisphere).
What is the difference between bronchiolitis and bronchitis?
Since the terms "bronchiolitis" and "bronchitis" are very similar, there may
be confusion regarding each diagnosis. The difference between the two terms
depends upon the anatomical area of the lungs that is infected.
are very small and delicate airways that lead directly to the alveoli.
are the microscopic "cul de sacs" of the lung tree.
- The alveoli are where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs.
- Bronchi are much larger "pipes" which make up the first two to three branches of
the lungs immediately after the trachea (windpipe).
- Bronchiolitis is an
infant to early childhood illness.
- Most pediatric pulmonary specialists
bronchitis is never seen in this age range, but is more likely seen
in teens and adults.
Cigarette smoke exposure is a predisposing
factor for both diseases.
- Both bronchiolitis and bronchitis are viral infections and do
not require antibiotics.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015