Respiratory syncytial virus is a contagious disease that spreads through the air and through direct contact with affected individuals. For example, patients may become infected if they inhale infected droplets released by someone who has coughed or sneezed near them, and they could also become infected if they shake hands with an individual who has the illness. Typically, the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. While this condition can affect individuals of any age, it most commonly affects babies and young children. Premature babies, infants with congenital heart problems, the elderly, and individuals who have asthma or other underlying health conditions have an increased risk of complications and more severe symptoms if they get respiratory syncytial virus. To diagnose this condition, mouth swabs, chest x-rays, and blood tests may be needed. For patients with mild symptoms, rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and proper hydration can help to manage this virus. Patients who have more severe symptoms may need treatment at the hospital, including intravenous fluids, ventilation, and humidified oxygen. Ribavirin, an antiviral drug, may be recommended for patients who have weakened immune systems, and palivizumab is often used as a preventative treatment for some infants and children.
The symptoms described below are commonly seen in respiratory syncytial virus patients.
Dry And Severe Cough
Coughing is one of the main symptoms for all cases of this condition, and the type and severity of a patient’s cough can provide clues to the severity of the virus. A dry and severe cough typically develops in older children and adults with a severe form of this ailment, and patients with a mild form may also have a dry cough. The cough is often accompanied by wheezing, rapid breathing, and a fever. If left untreated, respiratory syncytial virus may lead to pneumonia, and it can increase an individual’s risk of developing asthma. To manage a cough, doctors recommend patients use a humidifier at home, and they should avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
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