Know the signs and symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Health professionals across health and social care in Doncaster and North Nottinghamshire are asking parents to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (known as RSV) as cases increase as winter sets in.

RSV is a very common virus and almost all children are infected with it by the time they’re two years old – it is important to note that it is well documented and is not a novel or new illness, you may have heard it called different things, such as bronchiolitis.

Clinicians at both Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw have seen an increase in respiratory illness in children as lockdown restrictions eased earlier in the year and families begin to mix once again, with cases higher than usual during the summer months and further increases are expected throughout winter. It is important to note that while some of the symptoms may appear similar, this is not related to COVID-19.

Parents are encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe respiratory infection in at-risk children, including a high temperature of 37.8°C or above (fever), a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).

To help raise awareness and empower parents, a short film has been created featuring Nadine Cooper, Senior Paediatric Respiratory Nurse at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), to discuss RSV, the signs and symptoms, and the best course of action to follow if you become concerned about a little one.

Speaking this, Nadine said: “While respiratory infections are common in children, last winter saw much fewer infections in younger people due to COVID-19 restrictions. This means that many will not have developed immunity and may be at higher risk of severe illness. We may also see more cases than in a typical season. For the majority of children, these illnesses will not be serious and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids.”

Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within two to three weeks, but parents should contact their GP or call NHS 111 if:

  • Their child struggles to breath.
  • Their child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last 2 or 3 feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
    The child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.
  • Some children under 2, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can suffer more serious consequences from these common respiratory infections.

Find out more about the symptoms and what to do here: