Management and Prevention Strategies for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Bronchiolitis in Infants and Young Children: A Review of Evidence-Based Practice Interventions

Allison C. Cooper; Nancy Cantey Banasiak; Patricia Jackson Allen


Pediatr Nurs. 2003;29(6) 

In This Article

Clinical Manifestations

The clinical presentation of RSV bronchiolitis is variable depending on the severity of the infection and the age and condition of the infant or child. The symptoms begin 3-5 days after inoculation with the virus and the mean duration is 12 days (Swingler, Hussey, & Zwarenstein, 2000). The symptoms of mild infection include rhinorrhea, mild cough, irritability, and low-grade fever for 1-3 days. Moderate infections and infections in infants and young children often present with more pronounced cough, wheezing, moderate fevers to 102°F, and decreased feeding. As the condition progresses and the infant has to work harder to breath, nasal flaring, grunting, tachypnea, and retractions develop. If the infant does not receive supportive therapy or the RSV infection is severe, the infant will become listless, hypoxic with diminished breath sounds, may experience apnea spells, and can rapidly progress to cyanosis and respiratory failure (Wong et al., 2003) (see Table 1 ).


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