RSV Symptoms in Newborns: Never ignore

If you are one of many mothers who gave birth during peak respiratory syncytialvirus (RSV), you probably do everything you can to protect your baby. RSV, which is more common in the winter and fall months, mimics a cold in children and older babies. RSV attacks the small airways in the lower respiratory tract, which is not like a cold.

RSV is more dangerous in infants than it is in older children. According to Jennifer Marshall, FNP-BC, a nurse practitioner at Avista Family Medicine, Erie, Colorado, more than 40% of RSV hospitalizations occur in children younger than 6 months. Worse, RSV is responsible for between 100 and 500 deaths each year in children younger than 5.

RSV is not a quick fix. Dr. Silver says that RSV sufferers need support and time. There are some RSV symptoms that newborns should be aware of. It’s important to immediately seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms in your baby.


Dr. Silver says that you should not ignore signs such as fast breathing, pulling at the neck or nostrils flaring in the out. Retractions are also signs that a baby is having difficulty breathing. These are signs Baby is not getting enough oxygen, which can be a serious emergency.

There are fewer wet diapers than usual

Dr. Silver says that any infant who is able to go more than six hours without using a wet diaper should be seen by a doctor. This could indicate dehydration. RSV dehydration is not caused by vomiting or high fever, unlike other childhood illnesses. It’s an effect of the difficulties Baby has feeding due to extreme nasal congestion.

A Blue Tinge around Lips and Fingernails

Dr. Silver says any skin discoloration that is bluish or sallow should be considered alarming. She warns that these are warning signs that your baby might need oxygen or additional support for breathing. They should be taken to the emergency room immediately.


Marshall says that apnea is a serious symptom for infants under six months old. This is a very common, but still scary, RSV symptom in newborns. According to Dr. Silver, very young infants may experience pauses in breathing for longer than 20 seconds when they have RSV. However it should still be considered a concern and treated promptly.

Poor Feeding

RSV can cause severe congestion in newborns. They may not be able to finish a meal. Dr. Silver states that RSV can lead to babies needing to be fed via a nasogastric tube, which is a tube that runs from their stomach to their nose. Monitor Baby’s diaper output if you are having trouble getting her to eat for longer than five minutes. A visit to the pediatrician may be necessary if she isn’t having wet diapers.