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HomeAnswersPulmonology (Asthma Doctors)rsvAfter recovery from RSV, I get shortness of breath while climbing stairs. Why?

How to treat lung scarring due to RSV?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vinodhini J.

Published At February 18, 2020
Reviewed AtJuly 10, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Eight months ago, I had severe RSV lasting for 10 weeks. I am 66 years old, athletic, fit and in perfect health before respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). I took no prescriptions whatsoever. I got RSV from my friend's infant at church. My husband is a double-boarded physician and recognized the RSV very quickly. I had acute wheezing and coughing. I was on five prescriptions (the usuals) for 10 weeks. I was off all medicines and back on the treadmill daily and also at the gym. The one very noticeable thing that has remained and is very troubling, is that every time I climb stairs in my home (about 18 stairs to the second floor) I am quite out of breath. This does not happen on the treadmill but just on the stairs. I am convinced this is damage from RSV. The two x-rays, six months apart are showing scarring from the RSV. I was recently at a high altitude after many visits to that same location, and I was seriously struck with altitude problems. I was extremely short of breath and had to get a prescription inhaler which helped enormously. When I returned to my place of low altitude, my breathing greatly improved. My questions are: Can I improve my lung scarring in any way? Should I get pulmonary studies? If I am not wheezing, will an inhaler help shortness of breath upon exertion? This is a problem for my fitness program and my very busy personal life.


Welcome to icliniq.com. Scarring is an irreversible process so it cannot be cured. Your breathlessness is due to less lung reserve because of scarring. Kindly share your x-ray chest image. Your lungs will not become normal but breathlessness problem will be corrected by medications and respiratory exercises (pulmonary rehabilitation). Medications are simple bronchodilators like tablet Doxophyllin 650 mg OD with inhaler combination of Formeterol and Budesonide. Respiratory exercises can be done in the form of pulmonary rehabilitation. Download pdf form of pulmonary rehabilitation and do it slowly in increasing way. I hope this helps. The probabale cause may be RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Investigations to be done are HRCT CHEST (high-resolution CT scan), ABG (arterial blood gas test). Treatment plan will be changed after investigation. The preventive measure is to prevent infection and maintain hygiene. Follow up to be done after one week.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Chandra Shekhar
Dr. Chandra Shekhar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

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