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RSV: Risk of Complications


Topic Overview

With respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections, there is an increased risk of having complications, especially in certain babies and young children and in adults older than 65.

Babies and young children

Certain children have a high risk of developing problems such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia as a result of RSV. They include:

  • Babies younger than 6 months, especially those born early.
  • Children who have existing heart or lung disease.

Conditions that put babies and young children at higher risk for problems include:

If your young child has a health condition, your doctor may recommend medicine to help prevent problems from RSV.

Older adults

Adults older than 65 have an increased risk of developing complications following infection with RSV. Pneumonia from an RSV infection is a particular risk for people in this age group, especially if they have other diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure.

Other complications older adults may develop as a result of RSV infection include bronchiolitis and respiratory failure. Older adults may also recover more slowly than other age groups from RSV and complications.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerThomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last RevisedAugust 25, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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