RSV in Infants and Young Children

RSV symptoms include:

  • stuffy or runny nose
  • not eating or drinking well
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • general ill feeling

Call your doctor if your child:

  • develops a fever after having a cold or has a high fever
  • has a cough or other symptoms that gets worse
  • is wheezing
  • shows signs of dehydration

Get medical help right away if your child:

  • has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast
  • is very sleepy
  • has lips or fingernails that look blue

Treatment and At Home Care

Most RSV cases go away on their own in a week or two.  RSV is a virus, so antibiotics won't work to treat it.

Relieve symptoms at home:

  • Manage fever and pain by giving medicine like Tylenol or if they are older than 6 months, ibuprofen.
  • Drink enough fluids.
  • Talk to your doctor before giving your child cold medicines; some may have ingredients that are not safe for kids.
  • If your child is too young to blow their own nose, use a saline nose spray or drops, and a bulb syringe to remove mucus.


If you have cold-like symptoms, do not interact with kids at high risk for severe RSV including premature infants, children under age 2 with long-term heart or lung conditions, children with weakened immune systems, and children with neuromuscular disorders.

More prevention steps:

  • Wash hands often.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Do not kiss babies that aren't yours.


For more information:

Revised 11.9.2022