How Long Can the Symptoms of RSV Last in Young Children?

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In otherwise healthy teens and adults, RSV doesn’t typically pose much of a problem. In at-risk groups, however – like the elderly or young children – RSV can lead to severe symptoms, difficulty breathing, and potentially serious complications. Because RSV is highly contagious, it is important to understand what symptoms of RSV to watch out for, how long they may last, and when it may be safe and appropriate for your child to return to daycare, school, or social activities. At Health Services of North Texas, our Plano, Denton, and Wylie, TX pediatric care teams are here to evaluate your child’s RSV symptoms and to guide you through the at-home care process as well so that they can get rapid relief and get back to their normal daily routines. One of the most common questions regarding pediatric RSV is how long symptoms may last – and the answer, found below, may surprise you.

How can I tell if my child has RSV or just a regular cold?

Much like the flu or COVID-19, the symptoms of RSV can closely resemble that of a common cold. Because children may not be able to accurately describe their symptoms, if at all, it is understandably difficult for parents to understand whether their child may have RSV, another virus, or something as simple as allergies. A few children’s RSV symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing nose while breathing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Rhinitis (runny nose)
  • Fever

For mild to moderate RSV symptoms, like those listed above, call Health Services of North Texas to schedule an evaluation at any of our Denton and Collin County locations.

If your child is having difficulty breathing, turning pale or blue in color, or is showing signs of dehydration, visit your nearest urgent care or ER right away.

How long can a child be symptomatic with RSV?

Many parents are surprised to find out that RSV symptoms in kids can last up to a month or longer, and children may continue to be contagious as long as they are symptomatic. Even when a child begins to feel better, they may still be contagious. During your appointment, our knowledgeable providers will help you better understand when it may be safe and appropriate for your child to return to school after recovering from RSV.

What can I do at home to help my child with RSV feel better?

RSV does not have a specific treatment protocol, but there are several things our providers can offer to treat symptoms and prevent worsening complications. Additionally, you can help to make your child more comfortable while they are home with RSV by doing the following:

  • Relieving congestion with a gentle saline mist or rinse
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air
  • Give Tylenol as directed

Help your child feel better sooner with RSV care in North Texas

As parents, it is difficult to see our children uncomfortable or ill. By having your child’s RSV symptoms evaluated as early as possible, you can potentially shorten their road to recovery and help them to feel more like themselves sooner. For more information about RSV in children or to schedule your child’s pediatric sick visit, call Health Services of North Texas, with convenient locations in Wylie, Denton, and Plano today.

To schedule an appointment with Health Services of North Texas, click here.