What is RSV?

RSV stands for “Respiratory syncytial virus”. This virus is responsible for the infection of the lungs and respiratory tracts. The virus is very common and it may infect anyone. So far so that most babies less than 2 years of age get infected by this virus.

What Are the Effects of RSV?

The effects of the virus vary from person to person depending upon factors like age and health.

The infections caused by this virus may have mild symptoms and act like common cold when it infects adults and healthy children of age above 4. In this condition all that’s needed to make the condition better to take self-care measures.

In contrast to the previously mentioned statement, the virus causes infections which are severe when it comes to older adults, anyone with a weak immune system, anyone with heart and lung diseases and especially premature babies.

The virus may cause different complications and may even cause death. People facing such circumstances may have to seek regular medical assistance from a nearby 24-hour clinic.

How Does the Virus Spread?

Respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, spreads through infected respiratory droplets. It may also pass from person to person through direct body contact like shaking hands with someone already infected with RSV.  The virus enters the body through mouth, nose and/or eyes. The most common reason for picking up the infection is when someone infected with RSV coughs or sneezes near you.

What Is the Life Span of the Virus?

A person, infected with RSV is more likely to spread the virus in the first few days of getting infected. Even if the symptoms of the infected person are gone, the person might still be spreading the virus for the next few weeks. Once off of its host, on hard surfaces such as toys and countertops, the virus may continue to live for up to several hours.

What Are the Symptoms of RSV?

The symptoms of infections caused by RSV often start to appear after five to six days of getting infected with the virus. The symptoms of the getting infected by the virus depend upon the severity.

Mild cold-like symptoms are seen in adults and children with good health. The symptoms may include:

  • Mild headache
  • Low fever
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Abnormal nasal cavity

When talking about the severe case, which takes place when the virus reaches the lower respiratory tract and consequently reaches the lungs. This may cause bronchiolitis or pneumonia, the symptoms of which are:

  • High fever
  • Severe cough
  • Skin turning blue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wheezing

For infants, look for the symptoms such as:

  • Poor feeding
  • Lethargy
  • Short rapid breathing
  • Chest muscles and skin being pulled inward during breathing.
  • Uneasiness

If you experience or notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms in yourself or in your child, visit an urgent care immediately.

What Complications May Arise with RSV?

The virus may lead to different complications which may sometime be serious. The complications may include:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Middle ear infection
  • Repeated infections

How to Prevent RSV?

As no vaccine for RSV exists, the only way to prevent is to take protective measures such as:

  • Wash your hands properly and regularly.
  • Keep common areas such as kitchen countertops clean.
  • Don’t share utensils and drinks with people who have fevers or cold.
  • Avoid your child getting near anyone with fevers or cold.
  • Wash the toys regularly especially if your child is sick.
  • Never smoke near the babies.

In order to learn more about the RSV and to have your detailed examination, visit a medical professional at your local urgent care.