Respiratory cellular virus (RSV): symptoms and causes

 Respiratory cellular virus (RSV): symptoms and causes

A respiratory cellular virus causes infections in the lungs and respiratory tract. It is so common that most children are infected before they reach the age of two. The respiratory cellular virus can also affect adults.

Respiratory cellular virus (RSV): symptoms and causes

For older adults and healthy children, respiratory cellular virus symptoms are mild, usually similar to those of a cold. Self-care measures are usually sufficient to alleviate the symptoms of illness.

Respiratory cellular viruses can cause severe infection in some people, including children aged 12 months and under (infants), particularly premature babies, older adults, people with heart and lung disease, and anyone with a compromised immune system.


Signs and symptoms of respiratory cellular virus infection often appear four to six days after exposure to the virus. For adults and older children, respiratory cellular viruses typically cause mild signs and symptoms similar to a cold. They may include:

  • runny nose or congestion
  • Dry cough
  • Mild fever
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezes
  • Headache

In extreme cases,

Respiratory cellular virus infection can be transmitted to the lower respiratory stream, causing inflammation of the lung or trachea, the small airways leading to the lung. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Severe cough
  • Sizzling: a sharp sound usually heard during exhaling.
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing: the patient may prefer to lie down.
  • Skin glaucoma due to a lack of oxygen (glaucoma)

Infants are the most affected by the respiratory cellular virus. Signs and symptoms of severe infant respiratory syncytial virus include:

  • fast, short-paced, and non-deep breathing
  • Endurance occurs during breathing when the skin and muscles withdraw inside with each breath.
  • Coughing
  • Poor nutrition
  • Unusual fatigue (lethargy)
  • Emotion

Most children and adults recover within one to two weeks, but the sizzling phenomenon may be repeated in some. Some premature children or children with chronic heart or lung problems may develop severe or life-threatening infections that require staying in the hospital.

Respiratory cellular virus and COVID-19

Because respiratory cellular viruses and COVID-19 are respiratory viruses, some of their symptoms can be similar. In children, COVID-19 typically causes minor symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. For adults with COVID-19, symptoms may be more severe and may include difficulty breathing.

Respiratory cellular virus infection may weaken immunity and increase the likelihood of COVID-19 infection for children and adults. These two types of infections may occur together, which may lead to an increase in the severity of COVID-19 disease.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, your doctor may recommend a COVID-19 test.

When to visit a doctor

Urgent medical care should be sought if the child—or anyone at risk of severe respiratory syncytial virus infection—feels difficult to breathe, has a high fever, or has glaucoma, especially on the lips and nail bases.


Respiratory cellular viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. It spreads easily through the air via infested respiratory spray. Infections can be transmitted to you or your child when someone with a respiratory cellular virus sneezes or coughs near you. The virus can also be transmitted to others via direct contacts, such as shaking hands.

The virus can survive for several hours on hard surfaces like tabletops, toys, and baby bed rails. If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching a contaminated body, you are likely to contract the virus.

An infected person is the maximum transmitter of the infection for about the first week after the start of the infection. But infants and people with weak immune systems may continue to spread the virus even after symptoms have disappeared for up to four weeks.

Risk factors

At the age of 2, most children have contracted the respiratory syncytial virus, but the infection can be repeated. Children attending childcare centers or having brothers attending school are at greater risk of infection and recurrence. The respiratory syncytial virus season, that is, the period in which the virus usually outbreaks is from the fall to the end of spring.

Groups at higher risk for acute or life-threatening infection with a respiratory cellular virus include:


Complications of the respiratory syncytial virus include:

  • Admission to the hospital Severe respiratory cellular virus infections may require hospitalization so that doctors can monitor and treat breathing problems and provide the body with intravenous fluids.
  • Pneumonia. The respiratory cellular virus is one of the most common causes of pneumonia and bronchitis in infants. These complications can occur when the virus is transmitted to the lower part of the respiratory stream. Lung inflammation can be dangerous for infants, young children, older adults, and people with impaired immunity, heart disease, or chronic lung disease.
  • Middle otitis. If germs enter the space behind the eardrum, the person may develop middle ear inflammation. Most of these cases occur in infants and young children.
  • Asthma. There may be an association between acute infections of the respiratory syncytial virus in children and the likelihood of future asthma.
  • Recurrent infections. Infections with respiratory cellular viruses can be repeated. Respiratory cellular virus infections can even recur during the same season. But the symptoms are not usually as severe, and they are similar to a cold. But symptoms can be serious in older adults or people with chronic heart or lung disease.


There is no vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus. But the following life habits can help prevent the spread of infection:

  • Hands should be washed frequently. teaching children the importance of hand washing.
  • Avoid exposure to the disease. The mouth and nose should be covered when coughing or sneezing. Children's contact with a fever or cold must be limited.
  • Keep the surroundings and collectibles clean. It is important to keep the kitchen, bathroom, table tops, door handles, and other surfaces constantly touched. Used wipes must be disposed of immediately.
  • Do not share drinking cups with others. Use a special drink cup for each person or single-use cups in case of any person's illness. It is recommended that a sticker be placed on each cup to identify the owner.
  • Refrain from smoking. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke have a higher risk of developing respiratory cellular virus infection and experiencing more severe symptoms. For smokers, you should never refrain from smoking inside the home or car.
  • Wash toys regularly. It is necessary to do so in the event of the child's illness or playmate.

Protective medicines

In some infants and children aged 2 and under who are at high risk of contracting a respiratory cellular virus, the injection-based drug Synagis can help prevent serious complications. High-risk children in this age group include:

  • Children born early (premature)
  • Persons with chronic lung disease
  • Persons with certain heart defects
  • People with weak immune systems

The first injection is given at the beginning of the respiratory cellular virus season, with monthly injections given during the season. This treatment aids in the prevention of respiratory cellular virus infection. But it is not useful in treatment after symptoms appear.

Talk to your child's doctor to find out more about this drug and whether your child can benefit from it. This drug is not recommended for healthy children or adults.

Scientists are still developing a vaccine to prevent the respiratory cellular virus.


    Font Size
    lines height