Holistic Doctor Discusses RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

With social media being extremely prevalent now days, many new parents see horror stories of babies and toddlers contracting RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. After seeing these posts you may be asking yourself numerous questions; what is RSV, how do you get it, is it really that dangerous, and what precautions can I take? I will be answering all these questions and more.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV for short is a virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. People usually become symptomatic within 4 to 6 days after becoming infected with the virus. Symptoms can include: runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. Severe symptoms that may show up if RSV has progressed to pneumonia or bronchiolitis are; wheezing or difficulty breathing, breathing very fast, turning blue around the lips, and/or the child’s ribs sticking out due to taking such deep breaths.In healthy older children and adults it usually looks like a cold or some adults can be asymptomatic. In younger children and infants it can be dangerous. RSV is transmitted though the virus droplets from a cough or sneeze getting into your eyes, nose or mouth, from direct contact with the virus such as kissing a baby, or touching a surface that the virus is on, then touching your face.

While some of this may seem frightening and you should be cautious, only about 1-2% of babies that contract RSV will became sick enough to be put in the hospital. Most babies actually will get RSV before they are 2 years old, many will even get it two or more times.

There are many ways to protect yourself and children from RSV. First, like with any virus, make sure you are avoiding anyone who is sick. You will want to make sure you are frequently washing yours and your child’s hands, and are disinfecting frequently touch surfaces such as; cell phones and doorknobs. Make sure if you have someone coming to visit your baby that they are not sick, that they wash their hands before touching your baby, and it is best for them not to kiss your baby on the face or hands.

There are also some supplements you can take to help strengthen your immune system.

Some at home ways to help with symptoms are nasal saline spray then suction if they can’t blow their nose by themselves, staying hydrated, and a cool mist humidifier or getting the bathroom really steamy, and sitting in there for awhile. For fever dress baby down to the diaper and do lukewarm baths.

When to have a visit? If your child or baby is experiencing the following systems it is time to have a visit:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Head bobbing with each breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Tugging between the ribs or tugging at the lower neck
  • Belly Bouncing
  • Decreased appetite and/or fluid intake
  • Lethargic  

If your baby looks like they are not getting enough oxygen such as they are turning gray or blue in the lips tongue or skin you will want to take them to the ER.


-Dr. Kenneth Akey