Primary symptoms of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, include nasal congestion, sore throat, dry cough and low fever; in severe or advanced cases, other symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing and a blue tint to skin. RSV presents in most people with mild cold or respiratory flu symptoms, but poses more significant threats to infants and children or adults with chronic heart and lung infections.
Like other respiratory illnesses, RSV creates wide-ranging effects among individuals. It produces most severe symptoms in infants and young children, and people with weak immune symptoms. Infants with RSV might only display general symptoms at first, including irritability, lethargy and difficulty breathing, according to the American Lung Association. They might also show poor appetite and have a low fever. As the illness worsens, infants may demonstrate breathing difficulty, characterized by short, rapid breathing and draw in their chest muscles sharply with each inhalation.
Generally, treatment for milder cases of RSV includes aerosol medications and fever reducers. More serious cases often require hospitalization. Upon admission, patients may receive supplemental oxygen or have excess mucus drained from their airways. People with chronic lung or heart conditions and young children showing signs of labored breathing, including a high fever and blue color of the lips and nail beds, require immediate medical attention.