Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Explained

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a seasonal lung infection highly contagious in nature. RSV is a common childhood illness, although it can affect adults too. Most cases of RSV are mild, accompanied by cold-like symptoms. Unfortunately, severe infections can lead to pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Good standard hygiene practices like washing your hands can help prevent the spread of RSV.

What Precisely Is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

RSV is a common respiratory virus affecting the lungs and bronchioles. Among various childhood illnesses, RSV is the most common, infecting most children by the age of two. Unfortunately, RSV also affects adults. Most healthy children and adults getting RSV usually get a mild case accompanied by cold-like symptoms. Self-care and comfort care are sufficient to deal with the infection.

Severe RSV infections can lead to pneumonia besides bronchiolitis requiring RSV treatments in Katy, TX. Those at risk of severe infections include the very young and adults over 65. People of any age with heart or lung conditions or weakened immune systems are also at risk. RSV can also worsen existing heart and lung conditions.

Who Are Most Vulnerable to RSV Infections?

All children before two years can get infected by RSV. However, the virus merely causes minor cold-like symptoms in most cases. Unfortunately, some babies and certain adults are at high risk of getting severe RSV infections.

RSV in infants can assume severe life-threatening proportions because they have underdeveloped lungs, are under six months of age, or are born with heart or lung disease.

Symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV symptoms in adults and children are usually mild or nil. However, adults and older children may suffer from common symptoms of RSV similar to the common cold, including a runny nose, congestion, mild headache, fever, sore throat, cough, and tiredness.

Causes of RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus penetrates the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus is airborne on infected respiratory droplets. People and children can get affected by RSV if others with the infection cough or sneeze near them. The virus can also pass through direct contact, like shaking hands.

RSV virus can live on complex objects like countertops, toys, and crib rails for hours. Touching contaminated objects and the mouth, nose, or ears can infect people. People infected by RSV are highly contagious during the first week of the infection. However, the virus circulates in infants and people with weakened immunity even after the symptoms subside for up to four weeks.

Diagnosis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus

People visiting Katy urgent care with children to diagnose RSV can expect a medical professional to inquire about their child’s medical history and symptoms. The physical exam includes listening to the child’s lungs and checking oxygen levels using a pulse oximetry device. Doctors may also request blood testing to identify signs of infections or take nose swabs to test for viruses. If the medical professional suspects severe illness, they may order x-rays to check the child’s lungs.

Treatment for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

People and children with mild signs of RSV do not need prescription RSV treatment near me because the condition vanishes by itself in a couple of weeks. Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections, including RSV. However, if testing reveals children have bacterial pneumonia, they may receive a prescription for antibiotics.

Young children who develop bronchiolitis may need hospitalization to receive oxygen treatment. Children unable to drink due to rapid breathing may receive intravenous fluids to stay hydrated. Rarely infected babies may need respirators to help them breathe. Thankfully merely three percent of children with RSV require hospitalization, and most can return home from the hospital in two or three days.

Older adults with weakened immune systems may require hospitalization if they are infected by severe RSV. In addition, adults may need oxygen or even ventilators to help them breathe besides IV fluids to prevent dehydration.

Is There a Cure for RSV?

Presently no cure is available to treat RSV. However, researchers are working on learning about the virus and finding preventive measures for the infection or better managing severe RSV. Therefore people suspecting they are infected with RSV must seek urgent care near me to prevent the condition from becoming severe soon as they notice cold-like symptoms affecting them.

As no remedies are available against RSV, people can help themselves and their children by seeking urgent care for RSV tests from Preferred Urgent Care whenever affected by this seasonal illness.

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