Symptoms of RSV

What to know

  • RSV usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most RSV infections go away on their own.
  • RSV can be serious for babies, some young children, and older adults.
  • There is no treatment for RSV, but you can manage symptoms with over-the-counter medications.


People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once.

When to seek emergency care‎

Call your healthcare professional if you are having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms.


Antiviral medication is not routinely recommended to fight infection. Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. However, RSV can cause severe illness in some people.

Take steps to relieve symptoms

  • Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Never give aspirin to children.)
  • Drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before giving a child non-prescription cold medicine. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children.