Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Respiratory Viruses

Question: I just found out that a child at my son's babysitter has RSV. I am concerned that my son may get this virus, but I am even more concerned about the effect it could have on my unborn child. Is there anything to worry about? Kristen

Answer: RSV is a respiratory virus that is very common during the winter and early spring months. It affects mostly young children and infants who are exposed. It is contagious, just as a cold virus. It is spread person to person by direct contact with secretions from the respiratory tract where the virus is most commonly found.

In daycare settings and where there are children who are infected with RSV, there is a higher rate of spread. This is mainly because children haven't yet learned that handwashing and not putting hands in the mouth will help to prevent the spread of the virus as well as other germs.

The main symptoms of RSV are similar to the common cold symptoms, such as cough, runny nose and congestion. Fever is low grade and many times there is no fever at all. If secondary bacterial infections occur, antibiotics may be needed.

The younger the child, the more symptoms may be present. Wheezing sometimes occurs. There are medicines to control these symptoms also. Every child is different and will react differently to RSV. Most times, the child will do quite well. Premature babies may have a more difficult time because of immature lungs.

If you are pregnant, speak to your ob. doctor and inform him/her of the situation. Practice good handwashing.

I am not aware of any problems during pregnancy with regard to passing the virus. Communicate with both the pediatrician and your own doctor. Enjoy your child and hope you have a great pregnancy!

Dr. Betti

Also see:

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.