Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)


What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia. Symptoms range from:

  • flu-like symtoms 
  • nasal congestion
  • cough
  • fever
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • decrease in appetite and energy
  • difficulty breathing and wheezing
  • runny nose
  • irritability
Illness generally lasts for two to five days unless complications occur.

RSV may be suspected if the virus is prevalent in the community, for instance, during flu season.  Peak epidemic times are January to March; although, numerous cases have been identified as early as December and as late as June.

Pathogens that cause RSV are spread by direct and indirect contact with ill people or contaminated surfaces and when someone coughs or sneezes.

Managing RSV: What to do

  • A child can return to child care when well enough to participate.
  • If a child is not able to participate, that may indicate a more serious respiratory illness that needs medical attention.
  • Remind ill children and staff to sneeze or cough into their arms or in a tissue, disposing of tissues immediately.
  • Remind staff and children to wash their hands after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing.

Quick Reference

Record any respiratory illness, including symptoms, in the child’s record and the Public Health Illness Surveillance Form.

If a large number of children becoming ill at the child care centre, call Public Health at 519.539.9800.

Remember to clean toys and surfaces more often.