RSV: Risk of Complications

Search Knowledgebase

Topic Contents

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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised August 25, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.