Symptoms of RSV are similar to colds and other respiratory infections. They may include coughing, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, fever, loss of appetite, wheezing, and trouble sleeping. Very young infants may become irritable, have difficulty breathing, and show decreased activity. Severe cases of RSV can also result in bluish skin color due to a lack of oxygen and difficulty breathing.
Most people show symptoms of RSV within 4-6 days of being infected and will recover within 1-2 weeks. However, people can continue to be contagious for 1-3 weeks after they have stopped manifesting symptoms.
RSV is diagnosed through a chest X-ray and mucus sample that is analyzed for presence of the virus. However, because the symptoms are very similar to a cold, the disease often goes undiagnosed.