Is it a dragon? Is it the Night King? No, it’s RSV and the RSV season is coming.
RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. RSV season typically occurs in winter months. It is a very common virus that infects our respiratory tract. There are people who are extremely susceptible to this very contagious virus including babies and kids, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems like cancer patients. While the virus is very common, it can make those with weaker immune systems very sick.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of RSV?
The Centers for Disease Control lists symptoms of RSV to be any of the following:
- Runny nose
- Decreased appetite
Symptoms can happen at any stage in the infection but don’t usually occur all at once.
How Long does RSV Last?
Someone infected with RSV can be contagious for 3-8 days, lasting up to two weeks.
When is RSV Season?
Although it can vary, the CDC has found that RSV season can start as early as mid September and last until mid May.
How does RSV Spread?
- Droplets from your mouth and nose spread when coughing and sneezing.
- Touching someone’s hands or a surface that has the virus, like a door handle, someone’s hands, even kissing or sharing water bottles!
RSV is very contagious because it’s a virus that can live very long time on ordinary surfaces without any help. Which makes it easily passed from one person to another.
How do I Protect Myself and Loved Ones During RSV Season?
How do you protect yourself and your loved ones during RSV season? We put together a list of some helpful information and advice we pass onto our patients and their loved ones to keep them safe and healthy during this season.
- Our biggest tip is to wash your hands – often and thoroughly!
- Clean surfaces that are used frequently like door knobs and counter tops
- Cover your sneezes and coughs – wash your hands afterwards!
- Avoid crowded places like hospitals or schools to help prevent the spread of RSV
What do You do if You Become Infected?
One of the most important things you can do is to stay hydrated by drinking water or electrolyte replacements. When you have a fever, you become dehydrated, staying on top of hydration is key to helping your body recover. Hydration helps keep your throat moist when it is sore throat or raw from coughing. The next most important thing you can do is to stay at home and REST if you’re feeling sick. Not only does this help you heal, it prevents RSV from infecting others.
Before you take any medication, talk to your healthcare provider. They will let you know if you can take medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce fevers, and cold medications to help with runny noses or excessive coughing. Again, always touch base with your provider before starting any medications.