Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) is a respiratory virus that can cause mild cold-like symptoms. Common symptoms include coughing, decreased appetite, and runny nose. Although RSV in most adults isn’t a serious condition, older adults, especially those with weakened immune systems, are more easily prone to develop a lung infection or pneumonia.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of RSV?
Patients with RSV report a variety of symptoms. While some are asymptomatic, others have runny noses, slight fevers, and coughs. More severe cases report high fevers, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Without a mouth or nasal swab or blood test, RSV is difficult to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to the common cold. Medical treatment is rarely necessary since most symptoms disappear within a week and the infection goes away on its own.
RSV, Infants, and Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that most children will have an RSV infection by the time they are 2 years old. Healthy children with RSV rarely require hospitalization and will recover from the virus in a week or two. However, some infants under 6 months can develop lung conditions such as bronchitis.
Currently, there is no RSV vaccine. There is also no specific treatment plan. Doctors recommend getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and managing fever and body aches with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Consult a Doctor
Most with RSV don’t know they have it and the symptoms and virus usually disappear after a week or two and don’t require any special care. Older adults and infants under 6 months are more at risk of developing other conditions. If people in those age groups are believed to have RSV, speak with their primary care physician.