Is It The Flu Or RSV? What’s The Difference?

October 2, 2023

Woman blowing her nose and is unsure if it’s Flu, RSV or something else

As we enter the colder months, the prevalence of respiratory viruses such as the flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is expected to rise. These viruses, which tend to be more widespread during fall and winter, pose significant health risks, especially to vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems. AFC Urgent Care Danbury understands the nature of these illnesses and wants to help keep you informed about these viruses, the differences, and how to prevent them.

Overview of The Flu and RSV

The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can affect individuals of all ages and is characterized by symptoms such as elevated fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. While most individuals recover from the flu, it can lead to severe complications, especially for those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that affects individuals across various age groups, with a heightened susceptibility among infants and older adults. Initially, RSV symptoms may resemble those of a common cold, including coughing and sneezing, fever, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, RSV can progress to respiratory distress, particularly in infants and elderly individuals.

The Differences Between Flu Symptoms And RSV 

The flu often makes a sudden entrance, presenting symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Look out for elevated fever (typically exceeding 100°F), persistent cough, sore throat, muscle soreness and discomfort, and fatigue.

RSV symptoms may initially mimic a common cold but can evolve into more pronounced respiratory issues, including persistent coughing, rapid breathing, and wheezing or respiratory distress.

RSV and the Flu Prevention

For Preventing the Flu:

  • The CDC strongly advises getting an annual flu vaccine as the primary and most vital step to protect against flu viruses. Also please note that we also offer “fluzone” high dose flu shots for seniors and  those 65 and up.
  • It is recommended that everyone aged 6 months and older receives an annual flu vaccine, ideally before the end of October.
  • Stay away from close contact with individuals who are presently unwell.
  • If you feel unwell, minimize contact with others as much as possible to prevent virus transmission.
  • Ensure you practice proper etiquette when coughing or sneezing.

In cases of the flu, the CDC suggests that individuals stay home for a minimum of 24 hours after their fever has subsided, except for seeking medical attention or fulfilling essential needs. Fever should naturally diminish without the need for fever-reducing medications.

For RSV:

  • The CDC recommends that all children below 8 months of age receive nirsevimab to safeguard them during their initial RSV season.
  • Consider undergoing a Nasal swab RSV test at AFC Urgent Care Danbury West.
  • An RSV vaccine is accessible to protect adults aged 60 years and older from RSV disease. Older adults are at a higher risk than their younger counterparts for experiencing severe RSV-related complications due to the gradual weakening of their immune systems.
  • Use a tissue or your shirt sleeve to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing instead of using your hands.

Although we do not offer a vaccine for RSV, discussing RSV vaccination options with your healthcare provider is a wise choice, especially for high-risk individuals. Currently, certain pharmacies are offering RSV vaccines for those of you looking to double up on your vaccine protection.

AFC Urgent Care Danbury West: Your Go To Urgent Care For Flu Shots And RSV Testing

Why get tested for RSV at AFC Urgent Care Danbury? The answer is obvious. So, that you can have peace of mind and can hopefully enjoy a sick free holiday season. You also don’t want to accidently infect others or expose yourself to relatives who are sick.

AFC Urgent Care Danbury West can also help you with flu vaccinations so you can protect yourself from this virus, too. Our commitment to your convenience encompasses accessible 7-day availability, flexible walk-in and appointment scheduling, and an effortless online payment system.

Staying informed and proactive in your healthcare journey is pivotal in the battle against the flu and RSV. 

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