Helping you spot the signs of RSV with the traffic light system

2 mins read

Thursday 13 January 2022

Tags: health, RSV, respiratory virus, winter colds, parent tips

There has been a lot in the news this week about RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). It is one of the most common viral causes of coughs and colds in winter, but it can tough to know when to call in extra help.

So we asked parents what tips they use for helping to assess risk, what to look out for and what action to take. Using a traffic light system is one suggestion.

Try the traffic light test

We have described an example below; please do share other tips with us so we can pass them on to other parents! 


Look out for a runny nose for 24 hours; occasional cough; mild fever; loss of appetite but holding down fluids. 

Action: Call your GP and treat at home.


Look out for cough worsening over the day and occasionally in the night (but eases with inhaler); persistent fever; loss of appetite; uncharacteristically lethargic. 

Action: Call 111


Off food and unable to hold down fluids; persistent cough and fever day and night; tugging at the neck; breathing with the body and abdomen; pale skin and lips.

Action: Call 999

Remember: trust your instincts if you are worried.

Watch our new animation video

We have also made a new animated video with the help of parents like you. The short video aims to make sure you’re prepared by knowing what to look out for and what to do if your little one catches RSV. Watch it below.

Our other RSV resources

Our health lead Amanda Elliot has compiled the following questions and answers to help you protect your child from the virus.

Please join our new baby and toddler email group and get our latest advice to help you and your child stay well this winter.