Respiratory Syncytial Virus: A Case Study

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RSV, a short term for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a contagious viral illness affecting the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract which causes inflammation as the bronchiolar mucosa swells and lumina fills with mucus and exudate (Perry et al., 2014). The bronchial passages dilate during inspiration, although they narrow on expiration which traps air and prevents it from leaving the lungs. The illness typically starts with an upper respiratory infection with an incubation of about a week. It is spread by direct contact or when infected droplet particles are expelled from an infected individual through coughing or sneezing (CDC, 2014). RSV can be diagnosed through the use of a nasal swab or nasal wash. Sometimes, a chest X-ray or oxygen saturation test is used to check for lung congestion (National Institute, 2008).…show more content…
Over time, coughing, fatigue, or irritability may develop in infants. When the lower airways get involved, symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, tachypnea, cyanosis, diminished breath sounds and poor air exchange may occur (Perry et al., 2014). Some risk factors for the RSV infection include: male gender, birth within 6 months of the start of RSV season, multiple births, non-breastfed infants, young mothers and young mothers who smoke during pregnancy or thereafter, family history of atopy, low socioeconomic status and education, and crowded living conditions (Perry et al., 2014). Preterm birth, chronic lung or heart disease, neuromuscular disease, and immunocompromised children are at a higher risk for complications of RSV. These high-risk groups may have severe RSV infections, requiring hospitalization and putting them at a risk of acquiring pneumonia or bronchiolitis (Perry et al., 2014). These children may need supplemental oxygen, nasal clearing of mucus, or intubation with mechanical ventilation (CDC,

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