Spotlight on RSV
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a very common, very contagious respiratory illness. In most healthy adults and children, it manifests as little more than the common cold.
Unfortunately, in infants and toddlers with health problems, patients with compromised immune systems, and individuals who have breathing concerns, RSV can be much more than a cold. Knowing how to recognize and avoid it can help keep your family safer.
In its mildest form, RSV presents like a cold. A low-grade fever, nasal congestion, a mild cough, and a runny nose mark the early, minor stages of the disease. Individuals who have no other health concerns will likely make a full recovery without ever realizing that they’ve had RSV instead of a cold.
Depending on the strain of RSV and the health concerns of the ill individual, other symptoms may present themselves including:
- Higher fevers
- Worsening cough, often a “barking” cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue-tinged skin due to poor oxygen, especially around lips and nail bed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How common is RSV?
RSV is so common that most children under the age of two have already had this illness at least once.
How can I prevent the spread of RSV to myself or to loved ones who might be at higher risk?
Avoiding the spread of RSV includes avoiding contact with individuals who are sick, frequent hand-washing, and choosing not to share food or eating utensils, particularly with people who are known to be sick.
Is there a vaccine for RSV?
Infants and young children who are judged to be at high risk for RSV can receive a monthly injection that contains RSV antibodies. This vaccine doesn’t last long and must be administered regularly in order to help protect at-risk infants and young children.
RSV is most common during the late fall through early spring. It is, however, possible for RSV to be contracted at any time of the year. For the most part, if you suspect that you, your child, or another loved one has RSV, you can treat it like the common cold. If symptoms worsen, however, seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Please call 715-531-6800 to schedule an appointment.