Common signs and symptoms of RSV, also known as respiratory syncytial virus, include a stuffy or runny nose, a mild sore throat, an earache, and a cough, according to WebMD. Some individuals with RSV experience a fever at the beginning of the illness.
Babies with RSV may also experience irritability, insomnia, sleepiness and a decreased interest in their surroundings, explains WebMD. Some babies with RSV may also experience bouts of apnea where their breathing stops for approximately 15 to 20 seconds, although this is most common in babies with a history of apnea or those born prematurely.
Symptoms of RSV are similar to symptoms of a common cold, according to WebMD. RSV infections, though, can lead to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Adults and babies with a cough that continues to get worse, increased tiredness, disinterest in food, and wheezing or difficulty breathing may have developed complications from RSV and need immediate medical care.
RSV is a highly contagious illness that is spread when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes, according to WebMD. In addition, touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, eyes or nose before washing hands increases the risk of contracting RSV. The virus often can survive on hard surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops for more than six hours.