Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a contagious virus that affects the respiratory tract. This virus is very common and mostly affects young children and older adults. It is an airborne virus that is contracted through sneezing, coughing, and direct contact with others who are infected. RSV infection symptoms are similar to that of a common cold.
• Congested or runny nose
• Dry cough
• Low-grade fever
• Sore throat
However, not treated, RSV can sometimes lead to a serious infection with life-threatening problems.
Serious RSV Infection complications:
• Inflammation of the small airways of the lungs
• Congestive heart failure (when the heart can’t pump blood and oxygen to the body’s tissues)
While RSV may not seem like a deadly disease, there are groups of people who are at higher risk of developing a severe infection. Infants (especially those that are premature) and older adults who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing heart and lung conditions.
With the rise of COVID-19, many people are at increased risk. Since Coronavirus and RSV are both respiratory diseases with similar symptoms, they often confuse one with the other. Furthermore, getting RSV can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. Older adults over the age of 65 should also be wary of this since we tend to have more pre-existing conditions as we age, which could increase the chances of developing a severe RSV infection.
There is currently no medication that can cure RSV, although some doctors prescribe palivizumab to help with symptoms and prevent serious infection. With viral infections, your body will naturally have to combat this ailment. However, there are certain things you can do at home to manage the symptoms:
• Remove sticky nasal fluids from the nose that may clog breathing airways
• Use a cool-mist vaporizer to keep the air moist and make breathing easier
• Drink fluids in small amounts throughout the day
• Take non-aspirin fever-reducers such as acetaminophen
Babies or older adults with more advanced cases may need to go to a hospital, where treatment may include:
• IV fluids
• Medications or procedures (intubation)to open their airways
In recent years, RSV research has made strides in developing a potential vaccine to prevent people from contracting a serious RSV infection. Every year, RSV hospitalizes 3 million children under the age of 5 and approximately 336,000 older adults. Vaccines are a simple and safe way to protect ourselves and the ones we love from harmful diseases. They help teach our bodies how to fight off illnesses without having to come in contact with them.
RSV vaccine studies are enrolling soon here at Rainier Clinical Research Center . Call us toll-free at (888)-478-8343 for more information.
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