RS Virus: More than just a cold


Respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus) causes respiratory infections in babies and toddlers. We reveal what you should know about it.

What is the RS virus?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus or RSV) is the most common cause of respiratory disease in infants and young children up to the age of three and causes cold-like symptoms. By the third month of life, the disease can take a very heavy course. Preemies are often affected by the RS virus,but adults can also become infected. However, the RS virus is generally much milder in these cases.

Lung diseases as a result: The RS virus is not child’s play

In infants, however, viruses in RS infection often migrate from the upper to lower respiratory tract. These are still quite close in early life – which can greatly affect the bronchi and lungs in an infection. In the worst case, this causes pneumonia, bronchitis or bronchiolitis (inflammation of the smallest bronchi, also known as bronchioles). In the course of life, the airways enlarge, which reduces the risk of these diseases.

Cause: How can I catch myself?

Like the common cold, the RS virus is one of the so-called droplet infections – that is, the pathogens are transmitted from person to person (for example via the breath). But also over hands or objects, with which an infected person had contact, further infections can develop.

What are the symptoms of the RS virus?

In fact, almost every child up to the age of two undergoes acute RSV infection. In addition, it is possible to infect a second time(“reininfection”), but often the infection then remains in the upper respiratory tract and is not quite as difficult. For every RSV infection: The symptoms are not always so easy to distinguish from those of a common cold. The following complaints can occur:

  • to cough
  • sniff
  • Sore throat
  • fever
  • Too fast breathing
  • drinking refusal

What treatment helps against the RS virus?

There is no direct cure for an infection with RS viruses – only the symptoms of the patients can be alleviated. In mild cases, help adults and children from the age of four years next to bed rest, for example, home remedies for cough and home remedies for cold until the virus has subsided. In addition, the fluid loss should be compensated by a lot of water. Babies and infants who develop sequelae such as pneumonia should be under close medical observation and, if necessary, hospitalized through clinical routes.

Can I protect my child from RSV?

There is currently no vaccine against the RS virus and as with many respiratory infections, it is difficult to protect yourself from it in everyday life. Regular hand washing with soap can at least reduce the risk of infection. Patients should be kept away from healthy people for at least seven days if possible.a