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To treat RSV is to treat its symptoms. Drinking electrolyte-replacing fluids—not sugary sodas or sports drinks—regularly will prevent dehydration (abnormal loss of body fluids). Acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example) will help to reduce fever and relieve headache. Note that children with viral illnesses such as RSV should never take aspirin. In these cases, aspirin can lead to the potentially fatal Reye’s syndrome.

You should encourage children in your care to blow their noses, and you can use a bulb syringe in infants to suction nasal passages clear of mucus. Plenty of rest will help keep children comfortable until they get beter. Good handwashing can prevent spread the virus.

In more severe cases, people with RSV might need treatment to help them breathe. Some healthcare providers may prescribe a medicine called a bronchodilator to help open airways (tubes that move air from the mouth and nose into the lungs).

Last Updated December 01, 2008