Treating RSV in Infants at Home

Are you a parent of a young infant struggling with RSV? Get the help you need to manage symptoms and treat RSV at home. You can learn valuable tips and tricks to ensure your infant’s comfort and health.

Quick facts: Treating Rsv In Infants At Home

  • ✅ Infants with RSV should be treated at home, as hospitalized care is generally not needed. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • ✅ The most important measure to protect an infant from severe RSV is frequent handwashing and avoiding contact with sick people. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  • ✅ In some cases, a doctor may administer medications to ease the symptoms of RSV including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and epinephrine. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ In severe cases of RSV, a baby may need to be hospitalized to receive oxygen and other treatments. (Cleveland Clinic)
  • ✅ RSV can be spread through contact with airborne droplets from an infected person, or through contact with objects that have been exposed to the virus. (World Health Organization)


RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a common virus that affects infants and young children. While the virus is usually mild and treatable at home, it can cause serious problems in some cases. In order to minimize the chances of developing a severe case of RSV, it’s important to understand what RSV is and how to treat it if your infant contracts it.

This article will provide an overview of RSV in infants and discuss how to treat RSV in infants at home. It will also suggest symptoms to be aware of that may indicate a need for medical attention. Lastly, this article will provide information about how to prevent RSV from spreading to other family members or caregivers.

Symptoms of RSV

RSV is a common and contagious respiratory virus that affects people of all ages but is especially serious in small children, especially those under the age of two months. Symptoms of RSV can be similar to those of the common cold, but can become serious very quickly in young infants. It is important to recognize the signs of RSV in order to get your baby the treatment they need as soon as possible.

Let’s look at some of the symptoms of RSV:


One of the primary symptoms of RSV in infants is coughing. RSV is a respiratory virus, so it can often lead to a persistent cough. In some cases, the cough associated with RSV can be severe and relentless. It’s important to be on the lookout for a severe coughing fit in your infant as this may indicate that she has RSV. If your infant has any difficulty breathing, take her to see her doctor immediately.

In addition to coughing, other symptoms of RSV include:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever

If you notice any of these symptoms in your baby and they seem more severe than normal cold-like issues, it’s important to bring them up with your doctor right away so they can examine your baby and provide a diagnosis. Early detection and treatment are important for preventing further complications related to RSV in infants.


Wheezing is a common symptom of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), especially in infants. This is a whistling or squeaking sound made when exhaling due to narrowing or obstruction of the airways. It can be heard even without a stethoscope, though it can be more difficult to detect in young babies because their breathing is usually very shallow and fast.

Wheezing is most commonly caused by asthma or bronchitis, but it can also occur with RSV infection. In some cases, symptoms of wheezing may appear before any other signs of RSV infection such as coughing and difficulty breathing. If your baby is wheezing, contact your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Fast breathing

Fast breathing is an important symptom to watch for when trying to diagnose Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in infants. It is a warning sign that the baby has difficulty in breathing and needs immediate medical attention.

Fast breathing is characterized by increased respiratory rate (over 60 breaths per minute), shallow or labored breathing, flaring of the nostrils, and use of chest muscles while inhaling and exhaling. If any of these symptoms are present in an infant, it’s a sign that they have RSV and should get medical attention right away.

Other common symptoms associated with RSV include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Decreased appetite

Difficulty feeding

Difficulty feeding is a common symptom of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in infants. Babies may not have the energy or desire to feed normally, so they may need smaller, more frequent feeds. They may also experience increased fussiness or become more lethargic than usual when eating.

Parents should watch for indicators such as a weak suck, disinterest in feeding, decrease in usual amount of milk consumed, tiredness during the feed, frequent pauses when drinking from the bottle or latch issues. If a baby is experiencing difficulty feeding due to RSV they should be given extra time to rest and recover before another attempt at eating should be made.

Other strategies that can help include:

  • Keeping feeds shorter
  • Using a syringe or cup is necessary if baby struggles to latch on comfortably due to nasal congestion caused by RSV.


Preventing RSV in infant is one of the most important steps that parents and caregivers can take. RSV is highly contagious, so it is important to understand the ways to minimize the risk of exposure.

There are various measures that parents can take to reduce the chances of their baby getting the virus such as:

  • Avoiding contact with others who are sick.
  • Washing hands regularly.
  • Keeping the baby away from crowds.

Taking these preventative steps can help protect your baby from this virus.


Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants. Proper handwashing techniques, such as using hot water and soap, are essential for reducing the spread of germs and keeping babies healthy. It is important to wash hands before and after handling an infant, after changing diapers, before preparing food or eating, and after any contact with an ill person.

In addition to washing hands regularly throughout the day, it’s also important to keep all surfaces clean that may come into contact with an infant. This includes:

  • Changing tables, cribs and bedding
  • Toys
  • Feeding dishes and utensils
  • Countertops
  • Doorknobs
  • and more.

Cleaning these surfaces with a mild cleaner or soap and water can help reduce the risk of RSV infection in infants.

Avoiding contact with other people who have colds

Avoiding contact with other people who have colds is one of the most effective ways to prevent RSV in infants. RSV is a virus that is commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing droplets into the air which are then breathed in by another person. It can also spread through direct contact, such as touching someone’s hand that has just touched a contaminated surface.

Therefore, it is important to have all family members and visitors wash their hands with water and soap before coming into contact with your baby. It is also important to avoid having your baby around people who are known to have cold-like symptoms. If this cannot be avoided, it may be beneficial for those individuals to wear face masks when around your infant so as not to spread the virus if they are infected.

Avoiding crowded places

For infants under the age of two, avoiding crowded places is one of the most important preventive steps to reduce the spread of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV can spread quickly and easily by contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, or through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus. Keeping babies away from other infants and children in large groups can help reduce their chances of contracting RSV.

In addition to avoiding crowded places, families should also be sure to:

  • Wash hands frequently and keep surfaces clean to avoid spreading germs.
  • Limit shared items that may have come into contact with respiratory secretions, such as toys and pacifiers.
  • Consult their doctor if they have any questions about protecting their children from RSV, as vaccines are also available for premature infants or those at risk of severe reactions.


RSV is a highly contagious virus that can cause serious health complication in infants. Treatment for infants with RSV usually involves providing supportive care such as fluids, respiratory support, and medications. In addition, some infants may require hospitalization if symptoms are severe.

Let’s look more closely at the different treatments and strategies that can be used to help manage RSV at home:

Use a humidifier

Using a humidifier is an important step in treating infants at home with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Humidifiers provide added moisture in the air to help soothe a baby’s inflamed and irritated airways. The additional moisture increases the humidity level of the air, which helps to thin out mucus and makes it easier to clear from the throat and lungs. It also helps to relieve congestion and coughing fits related to RSV.

When using a humidifier while treating RSV, parents should remember to empty and clean it regularly in order to prevent any bacteria or mold buildup that could actually worsen their baby’s condition. This can be done by:

  • emptying any excess water
  • cleaning the tank with hot water and vinegar every few days.

Parents should also make sure that infants are kept in an environment with reduced allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, smoke, etc., as this can irritate their airways.

Give your baby extra fluids

Giving your infant extra fluids is an important part of treating Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV) at home. Ensuring that your baby stays hydrated can help with congestion and can also reduce fever.

The best way to ensure your baby is getting extra fluids is to breastfeed or bottle feed often, even if your baby does not seem very interested in eating or drinking. If your baby refuses to take a bottle or breastfeed, try giving them cool fluids like:

  • Water by teaspoon
  • Sips from a cup
  • Commercial electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte®
  • Frozen liquids in a mesh feeder
  • Ice chips
  • Flavored ice pops

In some cases, a doctor may also advise giving additional doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil), depending on their age and weight – always consult with a doctor before administering these medications.

Encourage your baby to rest

When treating RSV in infants at home, it is important to make sure your baby is getting plenty of rest. Babies who are infected with RSV may experience difficulty breathing, so it is best to avoid activities that will cause them to become too active or breathe too hard.

When helping your infant rest, try the following:

  • Place them in an upright position as this can help reduce their symptoms and allow more air into the lungs.
  • Make sure they are not left alone while they are sleeping as this could put them at risk of developing serious complications due to RSV.
  • Turn on a cool-mist humidifier in their room or use a saline nasal spray throughout the day to keep the nasal passages open and make it easier for your baby to breathe.

Administer over-the-counter medication if necessary

If an infant is diagnosed with RSV and the symptoms are mild, over-the-counter medications may be administered. These include acetaminophen or ibuprofen if the infant has a fever, and decongestants, antihistamines, or expectorants to help thin out mucus buildup in the infant’s airways. While many of these medications can be found in liquid form for infants, it’s important to consult with a doctor before administering any medication.

Additionally, it is important to monitor infants closely as they’re taking these medications to ensure that they react properly and that there are no worsening symptoms after administration.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Taking care of an infant with RSV can be stressful, so it is important for parents to recognize when it is time to seek medical attention. Parents should be aware of any changes in their child’s symptoms, as these can be indicative of a more serious issue.

Let’s look at what situations should warrant medical attention:

  • Any sudden change in breathing pattern or difficulty breathing.
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing.
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty catching your breath.
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails.
  • Extreme lethargy or difficulty waking up.
  • Fever of 100.4 F or higher.

If your baby is having difficulty breathing

It is important to be vigilant in monitoring your infant for any signs of respiratory distress. If your baby is having difficulty breathing, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of respiratory distress include:

  • Labored or increased breathing, including nostril flaring
  • Rapid shallow breaths (more than 60 per minute)
  • A bluish color around the lips
  • Labored chest retractions (pulling the chest inward with each breath)
  • Wheezing, and/or coughing

If any of these symptoms are present in your baby, seek medical attention right away. Additionally, if you think that your child’s symptoms are getting worse despite home treatments or that they are not improving within 24 hours of treatment, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If your baby is not getting better

If your baby’s symptoms of RSV have not improved after five days or if the symptoms get worse, seek medical attention. Signs that medical attention is needed include:

  • increased difficulty breathing
  • a continuous high fever for more than 24 hours
  • decreased alertness or responsiveness

If your child has any of these signs, contact your doctor immediately and explain what has been happening to your baby. Also make sure to tell the doctor how long your baby’s symptoms have been present and how often they are occurring. Your doctor may suggest an additional course of treatment or tests to help diagnose and treat the illness.

If your baby is not drinking enough fluids

If your baby is suffering from RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), it’s important to be aware of signs that your child needs medical attention. One of the most critical signs to watch for is if your baby is not drinking enough fluids. This could be a sign of dehydration, which can cause serious complications and may require hospitalization.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Sunken eyes
  • A dry mouth
  • No tears when crying
  • Little or no urination over 24 hours
  • Cool hands or feet

If these symptoms present themselves in your baby, you should call your doctor immediately. Additionally, seek medical help if there are changes in behavior or appetite that lead you to believe that your baby is not feeling well. Even if the cause turns out to be something other than RSV, it’s important to get proper care and treatment as soon as possible.


When it comes to treating RSV in infants at home, the most important step is to keep your infant comfortable, safe and hydrated. It’s also important to monitor your infant’s symptoms and contact their healthcare provider if they are getting worse, or if you have any questions or concerns.

There are some simple steps that parents and caregivers can take at home to ease their baby’s discomfort, such as:

  • Using a humidifier in their room.
  • Giving them plenty of fluids.
  • Encouraging them to rest.

If prescribed by the doctor, antiretroviral medications may also be used to help combat the virus. While RSV is not typically life threatening it still requires medical attention so be sure to seek help from your infant’s healthcare provider as soon as possible.

FAQs about: Treating Rsv In Infants At Home

Q: What is RSV?

A: RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a common virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages of babies and young children.

Q: What are the symptoms of RSV in infants?

A: Common symptoms of RSV infection in infants include coughing, wheezing, rapid or difficult breathing, and a decrease in appetite.

Q: How can I treat RSV in infants at home?

A: Home treatments for RSV in infants include providing extra fluids, using a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer, and keeping the infant in an upright position when feeding or sleeping.

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