Since the condition is caused by a virus, treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms while the infection is present and treating complications should they occur. With time, the virus will disappear by itself.
Medications such as acetaminophen* or ibuprofen can help reduce a fever or relieve discomfort. Complications such as ear infections, sinus infections, or pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics if they are caused by bacteria. Antibiotics destroy the bacteria, but they have no effect on RSV.
When an infected person is having severe problems breathing, inhaling a mist of medication into the lungs can help open the airways. In addition, a supply of oxygen or a breathing machine may help infants who are not breathing easily on their own.
The antiviral medication ribavirin can be given as an inhaled mist. This medication works by inhibiting the ability of the virus to reproduce.
Until RSV vaccination is widely available, your doctor may suggest palivizumab as a preventative measure. It is given in the first 2 years of life to premature babies and young children with heart or lung problems who may be at an increased risk of developing RSV. It is an intramuscular injection given monthly during the high-risk season.
While it may not be easy to completely prevent RSV, there are some simple things you and your family can do to reduce the risk of RSV and prevent its spread:
- Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently, especially before holding or touching an infant.
- Keep infants away from people who have a cold, fever, or other infectious conditions.
- Clean your home, including children's toys, to keep it free from germs.
- Do not smoke in the home, as exposure to second-hand smoke increases a person's chances of catching RSV.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Respiratory-Syncytial-Virus