Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection - When To Call a Doctor
Call911or other emergency services immediately if your child is having difficulty
breathing, indicated by:
- Breathing very fast (more than 60 times a minute).
- Making a grunting noise.
- Being unable to speak, cry, or make sounds, sometimes with
- Flaring nostrils or lifting the shoulders when inhaling.
- Having a gray, mottled, or blue color to the skin (look for skin
color changes in the fingernail beds, lips, or earlobes).
- Wheezing that lasts over 1 hour in a baby younger than
3 months old who also appears sick.
- Breathing that stops for longer than 15 to 20 seconds.
See your doctor right away if your
baby or child has moderate difficulty breathing, indicated by:
- Breathing 40 to 60 times a minute.
- Tiring quickly during feeding. The child either stops eating or
sucks in air to catch a breath. The child loses interest in eating because of
the effort involved.
- Using the stomach muscles when breathing.
- Having unusual color. The child's face, hands, and feet are pale
to slightly gray or lacelike purple and pale (mottled), but the tongue, gums,
and lips remain pink.
See your doctor if your child shows signs of a lower
respiratory infection, indicated by:
- Appearing extremely tired.
- Showing little interest in food or surroundings.
- Showing signs of an
ear infection, such as irritability, difficulty
sleeping, and tugging on or rubbing the ear. For more information, see the
- Having a fever of
100.4�F (38�C) or higher when younger
than 3 months old.
Call a doctor if your child:
- Breathes slightly faster than normal and seems to be getting
worse. Most healthy children breathe less than 40 times a minute.
- Has cold symptoms that become severe, or other problems arise.
For an otherwise healthy child who has symptoms
of an upper respiratory infection, such as a cough or runny nose, home
treatment usually is all that is needed. But it is important to watch for signs
and symptoms of
complications, such as
dehydration. For more information, see the Check Your
Symptoms section of the topic
Respiratory Problems, Age 11 and Younger.
Watchful waiting may not be appropriate when your
child with an upper respiratory infection has
an increased risk for complications. Watch your child closely if he or she
has symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. If symptoms get worse or new
symptoms develop, see a doctor right away.
Who To See
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection can be
diagnosed and treated by a health professional such as a:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.