What You Need To Know About RSV, How It Affects Children And What You Can Do To Help

December 4, 2022

Young child blowing their nose because they got tested for RSV by AFC Urgent Care New Britain and are now sick with RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that almost everyone will get at some point in their life. It’ll usually go away on its own after several days, and you won’t need to take any special action unless you have a pre-existing condition or are caring for an infant. 

Respiratory syncytial virus infection can be more serious in young children and people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). It can temporarily lower the child's immunity and make them more susceptible to other diseases. If your child contracts RSV, there are things that you can do to help them recover faster and reduce the risk of complications from the infection. AFC Urgent Care New Britain understands the concerns around RSV in children and even adults and wants to help you brush up on your knowledge, so you know what to do to help your loved ones.

What is RSV?

RSV is a common, contagious virus that can cause severe respiratory illness in infants and young children. It is the leading cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia (lung infection) in children under 1 year of age in the United States. 

It can also affect older age groups and those with weaker immune systems. So, yes, adults can get it too!

What are the symptoms of RSV?

  • Cold like symptoms

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing

If you, your child or grandparent (to name a few) have difficulty breathing, then seek medical attention right away!

Why is RSV contagious?

The truth is, children’s hospitals are filling up with cases of RSV in Connecticut and around the U.S. You may have heard it in the news or are trying to figure out why your child or loved one is sick. What it comes down to is exposure to those who are sick with these winter viruses. 

Just like the flu, COVID, colds, etc. RSV can spread through air droplets or by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. It might sound like there are many viruses to worry about this winter season, but taking the necessary health and safety precautions is going to be key to preventing the spread of RSV.

How can parents help their child recover from RSV?

Infants and young children are mainly the ones to worry about when dealing with RSV because they’re still developing their immune systems. Infants don’t really have a sense of awareness or voice to be vocal about what they’re feeling, which is why you as a parent, need to pay attention to these symptoms so you can react promptly. 

The more serious symptom of RSV is difficulty breathing. If you notice your infant or young child is having trouble breathing, it’s time to go to the ER.

As for adults and those with milder cases of RSV, if you’re testing negative for COVID and flu, then chances are, it might be RSV. When in doubt, get tested!

RSV Testing At AFC Urgent Care New Britain

RSV is a common virus that can cause severe respiratory illness in young children and adults with weakened immune systems. If you think your or your loved ones have severe symptoms of RSV, such as difficulty breathing it's important to seek medical attention right away! If you’re unsure if what you’re feeling is RSV, COVID or something else, you can easily come into AFC Urgent Care New Britain for testing. We offer the RSV nasal swab test that is accurate for detecting RSV. 

AFC Urgent Care New Britain is open 7 days a week and offers walk-in services and appointments online! We hope you have a healthy and safe holiday season!

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