What is RSV?

December 1, 2023

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been gaining attention in recent years due to an increase in cases. RSV is a viral infection that affects your upper respiratory system. Although it can impact anyone, it is known for causing serious illness in young children. Learn about RSV, its causes and symptoms, and what to do if you think you might have it. Visit AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale for RSV diagnosis and treatment.

Causes + Symptoms of RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a prevalent source of lung and respiratory tract infections, often affecting children before the age of two. While RSV is not exclusive to children, adults typically experience mild symptoms resembling the common cold. In most cases, at-home care measures are effective in managing symptoms. Nevertheless, RSV can manifest as a severe infection, particularly in specific demographics, such as infants below 12 months, elderly individuals, those with preexisting heart and lung conditions, or individuals with compromised immune systems.

RSV is highly contagious and an infected person may not experience symptoms or know that they have the infection until multiple days after contracting the virus. RSV transmission occurs through exposure to droplets expelled during coughs or sneezes of infected individuals or through touching an infected person directly.

Common symptoms of RSV include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Tips for Preventing RSV

Preventing RSV is particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as infants, older people, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Consider the following measures to reduce the risk of RSV:

  • Hand Hygiene: Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before handling an infant or after coughing, sneezing, or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
  • Avoid Close Contact: If you are ill or have symptoms of RSV, limit close contact with vulnerable individuals, especially infants.
  • Keep Surfaces Clean: Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys, doorknobs, and remote controls.
  • Practice Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of tissues properly.
  • Stay Home When Sick: If you or your child is ill, consider staying home to prevent the spread of the virus.

RSV Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Diagnosing RSV requires a medical evaluation. Your healthcare provider will ask you about the symptoms you’re experiencing and take your medical history. Tests like a nasal or throat swab to identify the presence of the virus may be used. In more severe cases, chest X-rays can reveal lung infections that aren’t showing up on normal viral tests. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect RSV, especially in infants and vulnerable individuals, as early diagnosis can lead to prompt and appropriate care.

Prompt medical attention is crucial if you or your child experience severe RSV symptoms, especially in infants. Dehydration, significant respiratory distress, or other concerning symptoms likely require medical care. RSV treatment primarily aims to manage symptoms and may involve using humidifiers to maintain moist air, reduce fever, and enhance comfort. In severe cases, particularly in infants, hospitalization may be required to provide oxygen support and intravenous fluids.

Get RSV Diagnosis & Treatment At AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale

If you or a loved one think they may be experiencing RSV symptoms, it is important to get a medical diagnosis and start treatment early. At AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale, our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with an on-site laboratory and X-ray suite that allows our medical providers to perform advanced diagnostic testing at the time of your visit. If you’re experiencing illness symptoms, simply walk in or schedule an appointment online.

When you’re experiencing illness symptoms, early action can prevent serious illness from manifesting. That’s why the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Hillsdale is open 7 days a week with extended business hours. We accept most medical insurance plans and offer affordable care options. Walk in today for convenient illness diagnosis and treatment. For additional questions regarding our clinic, please contact us directly by calling 201-523-9222.

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