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RSV is a common seasonal winter virus that can cause mild respiratory infections in both adults and children. However, it can be severe in infants, particularly those at an increased risk of acute lower respiratory tract infections.

It's important to remember:

  • RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children aged under 2 year, however
  • most cases are not serious and symptoms clear up within 2-3 weeks.

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Season and symptoms

RSV typically starts in the autumn, earlier than the adult flu season, and continues through the winter.

Early symptoms of bronchiolitis can be similar to those of a common cold, such as a runny nose and cough.

Further symptoms can develop over the next few days, and may include:

  •  a slight high temperature (fever)
  • a dry and persistent cough
  • difficulty feeding
  • rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing)
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When to seek medical advice

While most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious, you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 if:

  • your child becomes breathless
  • less than half of your child's usual amount of food has been taken (last 2 or 3 feeds), or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more
  • your child has a persistent high temperature of 38°C or above
  • your child seems very tired or irritable.


In an emergency dial 999 for an ambulance if:

  • your baby is having difficulty breathing
  • your baby's tongue or lips appear blue
  • there are long pauses in your baby's breathing.

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Support for parents and carers

If you have questions or concerns about the health and wellbeing of your child (0-5 years old), you can get advice via our text messaging service.

Health Visiting Team
Text: 07480 635164
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.


We can assist you with a variety of topics, including:

  • child development
  • toileting
  • sleep
  • parenting advice and support
  • behavior
  • child health, safety, and nutrition
  • breastfeeding/feeding guidance
  • emotional health and well-being.

Please note that this text messaging service is not an emergency service. For urgent medical attention, please contact your GP, NHS 111, or call 999.


Additional Resources

For further information, please visit HWE Healthier Together NHS.

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