What Is RSV

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. It is so common that most children have been infected with the virus by age 2. Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-ul) virus can also infect adults.What Is RSV

RSV is most common in the fall and winter months. It spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can also become infected with RSV by touching something that has the virus on it, such as a doorknob or toy, and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Symptoms of RSV

Most people with RSV have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

These symptoms usually start 4-6 days after exposure to the virus and last for about a week.

In some cases, RSV can cause more serious infections, such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia. These infections are more common in infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Treatment for RSV

There is no specific treatment for RSV. Most people recover with supportive care, such as rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications to relieve fever and pain.

In some cases, people with RSV may need to be hospitalized. This is more likely for infants and young children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Preventing RSV

There is no vaccine for RSV, but there are things you can do to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

If you have a child, you can also help protect them from RSV by:

  • Keeping them away from sick people
  • Avoiding crowded places during RSV season
  • Washing their toys often

If you think you or your child may have RSV, see a doctor right away.

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