RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial virus, which is a viral infection affecting the lungs and respiratory tract. RSV is a very common viral illness that infects most children by the time they turn two years old. RSV can also occur in adults and older children. The symptoms in older children and adults may be less severe and are similar to the common cold. If a person is immunocompromised, has a weak immune system, RSV can cause a severe infection.
Symptoms of RSV are similar to that of the common cold. This includes symptoms like a congestion, runny nose, dry cough, low fever, sore throat, sneezing, and a headache. Those few individuals who get a severe infection may have more significant symptoms. RSV may cause a pneumonia or bronchiolitis in the lower respiratory tract if it gets severe enough.
Symptoms of a more severe case may present as a higher fever, intense cough, wheezing, rapid or difficulty breathing, blue color of skin. Infants with severe infections of RSV may also have short shallow and rapid breathing, struggling to breathe, cough, poor feeding, fatigue, and irritability. Most children and adults who get RSV will recover in one to two weeks. Although, some symptoms like wheezing may persist for a longer duration. Special attention should be given to prematurely born infants or people with heart or lung conditions.
It is important to know that the symptoms of RSV and COVID-19 may appear very similar. RSV may also reduce one’s immunity and can cause an infection of OVID-19 following RSV. IF you believe that you or one of your children has RSV, it is recommended that you also test for COVID-19. Medical attention should be sought if you or your child are having a hard time breathing, a high fever, or a blue color to the skin, lips, or nails.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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November 23, 2022
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