Sometimes children and adults who have coughs and colds are unwell with Influenza-like Illness (including RSV).
RSV or respiratory syncytial virus is a common respiratory virus which spreads very easily from person to person through infected droplets of saliva or mucus. These can be passed on by breathing, speaking, sneezing or coughing.
Most people take about 10 days to recover and will get better on their own. In some vulnerable people like the very young, elderly or those with complex medical conditions, this viral infection can spread into the lungs and cause severe illness.
Influenza-like Illness can cause a range of respiratory symptoms, including:
Anyone who are unwell with any of the above symptoms need to stay home and away from others, until they have been completely well for at least 24 hours.
If adults or children develop concerning symptoms, such as rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, severe vomiting, or if a child is not responding or is difficult to wake up, they should seek medical attention immediately – including calling 111 for an ambulance if it is an emergency.
In very young infants, irritability or decreased activity might be the only signs your child is becoming more unwell and needs to see a doctor. If you are concerned about your child's health (or your health) call your general practice or Healthline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0800 611 116.
An information sheet on colds or flu in children is here
Many of the ILI symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19. COVID-19 testing is important for any adult or young person with these symptoms. Unlike teenagers and adults, children 11 years and under with these symptoms don't always need to be tested for COVID-19.
If a child has been in contact with a COVID-19 case, returned from a place where there is COVID-19, or left managed isolation in the last 14 days, the parents are advised to ring Healthline (0800 611 116) for advice on testing.
Covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and regular and thorough hand washing/drying are important steps to prevent the spread of illness.