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Recognizing RSV and Prevention

Now is peak season for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), so now is the time to learn how to recognize and prevent it. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be severe. Infants and older adults are more likely to develop severe cases of RSV and need hospitalization.

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days. Symptoms of RSV typically include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • In very young infants, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity and breathing difficulties

These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once.

Almost all children will have an RSV infection by their second birthday.

RSV, It’s a persistent virus with multiple avenues for transmission:

Airborne Transmission: When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be inhaled by those nearby.

Direct Contact: Close contact with an infected person, like touching or sharing items, can also lead to transmission.

Surface Survival: RSV can survive on hard surfaces for many hours. Touching contaminated surfaces and then your face can result in infection.

Contagious Period: Infected individuals can remain contagious for 3 to 8 days, increasing the potential for spread.

This year, the CDC has recommended multiple new immunizations to protect those most at risk of getting very sick with RSV: infants, toddlers and adults 60 years and older. 

Other methods of prevention are:

  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, desks and mobile devices

If there is difficulty breathing or worsening symptoms for you or someone you know, speak to a healthcare professional or call 911.

We have a primary care provider available for new patient appointments. Call (419) 373-7613 to find a provider that’s right for you.