What Is RSV?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that affects the breathing passages and lungs. Although many people may have only heard about the virus recently, pediatricians have been aware of its threat to children and adults over 65. According to CDC, over 57,000 hospitalizations for the under-fives and 14,000 adult deaths are attributed to RSV infections annually. And figures could be higher.

Read on to learn more about RSV.

It’s a Major Cause of Respiratory Illness in Babies and Older Adults

RSV is a common respiratory virus that infects the lower and upper respiratory tract. It spreads by direct contact and respiratory excretions. Most people take up to two weeks to recover, but the infection is severe for infants and older adults.

For babies and infants born prematurely or with lower immune systems, an RSV infection can lead to critical problems. Some higher-risk children can develop bronchiolitis or pneumonia, which can become life-threatening.

It Is Highly Contagious

RSV spreads through droplets in the air and contaminated surfaces. The best way to avoid contracting it is by keeping your hands clean and avoiding sick people.

It Is Not the Same as the Flu

Typically Influenza causes more fatigue and muscular complaints, while RSV causes respiratory distress that may require oxygen or ventilation support.

Common RSV Symptoms

The RSV infection has many symptoms:

  • Slight or high fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Ear ache
  • Sore throat
  • Breathing difficulty

Consult Your Doctor If You’re Concerned About RSV

Babies and infants are impacted the most by RSV infection. Take your child to ER immediately if they are wheezing, coughing persistently to the point of vomiting, or having difficulty breathing. You can also reach out to your doctor for more RSV information.

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