Influenza (commonly known as the flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are two names that often come up when discussing the colder winter months and holiday parties. Both are viral infections that mainly target the respiratory system and are notorious for their contagious nature. They share several common symptoms including coughing, fever, and a runny nose. However, it's essential to recognize that they also have distinct differences in their nature, and risk factors. AFC Urgent Care Natick understands the concerns for avoiding these two viruses and wants to help the community with flu shots and RSV testing as well as our guide on how to stay healthy and safe this winter season!
Recognizing the Differences Between Flu and RSV
The Flu (Influenza), is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can impact individuals of all ages, exhibiting symptoms like elevated fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. While most recover from the flu, it can lead to severe complications, particularly for those with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a common respiratory virus that affects individuals across various age groups, with infants and older adults being particularly vulnerable. Initial RSV symptoms may resemble those of a common cold, including coughing, sneezing, fever, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, RSV can progress to respiratory distress, especially in infants and the elderly.
Flu Versus RSV Symptoms
The flu often makes a sudden entrance, presenting symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Be vigilant for an elevated fever (typically exceeding 100°F), persistent cough, sore throat, muscle soreness, and fatigue.
RSV symptoms may initially mimic a common cold but can evolve into more pronounced respiratory issues, including persistent coughing, rapid breathing, wheezing, or respiratory distress.
Flu Protection And RSV Safety Tips
Annual flu vaccines are highly effective in reducing the risk of contracting the flu. Additionally, practice good hygiene with regular hand washing, maintain a safe distance from sick individuals, and cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to curb the spread of the flu.
Similar preventive measures apply to RSV. Frequent handwashing is essential to reduce the risk of infection. If you or a family member are unwell, minimize close contact with infants and older adults who are more susceptible to severe RSV symptoms.
The Importance of Vaccination
Flu vaccines play a pivotal role in shielding against influenza. By receiving the annual flu vaccine, you not only decrease your chances of falling ill but also contribute to building community-wide immunity, which limits the spread of the virus. Also please note that we also offer “fluzone” high dose flu shots for seniors and those 65 and up.
***While we do not currently provide an RSV vaccine, discussing RSV vaccination options with your healthcare provider is a prudent choice, particularly for high-risk individuals. Certain pharmacies are now offering RSV vaccines for those who wish to bolster their vaccine protection.
Visit AFC Urgent Care Natick Your Annual Flu Shot And RSV Testing
The best way to prevent RSV infection is to get vaccinated for the flu and other illnesses, wash your hands frequently, stay away from anyone who is sick and keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
AFC Urgent Care Natick offers the quadrivalent flu shot and flu shots for seniors! We also offer COVID testing and RSV testing 7 days a week. You can walk-in or make an appointment online. Lastly, we offer a convenient online payment system making it easier for you to check in and check out of your appointment with ease.