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Infants and Children At Risk of Respiratory Virus

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It is called respiratory syncytial virus and there is a good reason I’m talking about it today.

The virus, which causes respiratory tract infections in children, is most common between November and April but December is always a big month for it with lots of cases.

Children usually get a cough, runny nose, and wheezing. Physicians can make the diagnosis without lab tests or a chest x-ray.

Naturally, we worry about any child with a respiratory infection but RSV can attack children under two months and they often require hospitalization. The official name for the respiratory infection caused by RSV is a bronchiolitis and children under two are particularly vulnerable.

With the exception of severe cases, treatment of RSV is supportive, with particular help paid to keeping well-hydrated and oxygenation.