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Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

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Often, children and adults get running noses, coughs, and sneezing, but we assume it's a dust allergy or even a simple cold that will eventually go away. Well, that's not always the case. It might be a severe condition that needs attention before it gets worse.

Respiratory syncytial virus is one of the diseases that is often confused with the common cold. This article will discuss respiratory syncytial virus, its common causes, signs, symptoms, and its prevention. 

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus is an infection that affects the respiratory system, such as the nose, mouth, windpipe, throat, lungs, voice box, and diaphragm. The disease is commonly mistaken for the common cold and cold outbursts during winter and early spring months.

Anyone can get RSV, but it commonly attacks infants below two years and adults above 65 years old. Many babies catch the disease twice between 0-24 months old, and approximately 120,000 die from it in the United States.

What causes Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV is transmitted when a person comes in contact with fluid from an infected person. It enters the body in the following ways:

  • Kissing with an infected person; for example, if you kiss an infected child on the forehead, your mouth is exposed, and you can infected
  • Cough or sneeze; if an infected person sneezes or coughs near you, they release fluid droplets that can enter your body and infect you too
  • RSV can also live on surfaces, so be sure to wash your hands frequently 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus in babies and adults

You are probably asking yourself how babies and adults get RSV. RSV gets everyone, and it doesn't select who to infect. But, RSV in babies is common because babies get it from daycare centers, classrooms, or even homes. 

Adults above 65 years old are usually taken care of in senior care centers. If one person gets infected, all the others are at risk of getting the disease because it spreads fast through the air. 

Signs & symptoms of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus

A person infected with RSV starts to show illness within 2-5 days after getting the virus. The symptoms manifest themselves fast with children under three, adults over 65 years, and those with severe respiratory problems like asthma. 

  • Here are the common RSV symptoms;
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Running nose
  • Mild to severe fever
  • Lost appetite
  • Irritability
  • Decreased activity in children
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty in eating and swallowing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Faster breathing than usual
  • Lip area and fingerprints turning blue
  • Sore throat 
  • Headaches

The symptoms don't show in a patient all at once; you might have a sore throat and not have breathing difficulties. To know you have the disease, you need to get checked by a doctor. 

However, RSV goes away in a week or two without any treatment, but it persists for up to 4 weeks for those with other respiratory medical conditions. Seek medical attention if your condition persists.

Prevention measures for Respiratory Syncytial Virus

To prevent RSV infection from spreading to other people. You can take the following measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

  • Cover your mouth with a cloth, tissue, or your elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay at home when you are infected and avoid going to public crowds
  • Wash your hand using running water and soap for 30 seconds and pat them dry
  • Avoid kissing, sharing utensils, shaking hands with an infected person 
  • Avoid picking your face with unwashed hands

At Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic (IM&PC), we offer services in our clinic that can help you with RSV.  If you are in Mississippi, contact us for medical attention, and we will be happy to attend to you. 

We offer the following services for RSV patients:

  • Diagnosis
  • Emergency room attention
  • Pediatric treatment
  • Oxygen support care
  • Medication

Trust our medical services at Internal Medical & Pediatric Clinic for your care and get back on your feet as soon as possible.  

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