Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment for respiratory syncytial virus generally involves self-care measures to make your child more comfortable (supportive care). But in severe cases, hospital care may be needed.

Supportive care

Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to reduce fever. He or she may also prescribe an antibiotic if there's a bacterial complication, such as bacterial pneumonia.

Otherwise, keep your child as comfortable as possible. Offer plenty of fluids and watch for signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, little to no urine output, sunken eyes and extreme fussiness or sleepiness.

Hospital care

Hospital care for RSV in severe cases may be necessary to provide intravenous (IV) fluids and humidified oxygen. Hospitalized infants and children may also be hooked up to mechanical ventilation — a breathing machine — to ease breathing.

In some severe cases, a nebulized bronchodilator such as albuterol (ProAir HFA, Proventil-HFA, Ventolin HFA) may be used to relieve wheezing. This medication opens air passages in the lungs. Nebulized means it's administered as a fine mist that you breathe in.

Occasionally, a nebulized form of ribavirin (Virazole), an antiviral agent, may be used. Your doctor may also recommend an injection of epinephrine or a form of epinephrine that can be inhaled through a nebulizer (racemic epinephrine) to relieve symptoms of RSV infection.

Jul. 08, 2014

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