RSV and The Flu: A Comparative Guide for Understanding and Prevention

October 1, 2023

Child flexing that he got his flu shot at AFC Urgent Care Springfield

In the world of contagious diseases, Influenza (commonly known as the flu) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are two names that often come up. 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 epidemiology, risk factors, and potential complications.

AFC Urgent Care Springfield understands the concerns of these two viruses interfering with your holiday parties and outings. For this reason, we created a guide on how to navigate the two illnesses and what you can do to protect yourself this season.

Understanding The Differences Between RSV And The Flu

The Flu (Influenza), is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can affect individuals of all ages and manifests symptoms such as:

  • Elevated fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

It's essential to recognize that while most individuals recover from the flu, it can lead to severe complications, especially among those with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) Is Just As Dangerous As The Flu!

RSV is a prevalent respiratory virus that impacts individuals across various age groups, with infants and older adults being particularly susceptible. RSV symptoms may initially resemble those of a common cold, including:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties

In severe cases, RSV can lead to respiratory distress, especially in infants and elderly individuals.

What Can I Do To Protect My Family From The Flu And RSV

Preventing the Flu:

  • The CDC strongly advises receiving an annual flu vaccine as the primary and most crucial measure to guard against flu viruses.
  • It is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older to obtain an annual flu vaccine, ideally before the end of October. Also please note that we also offer “fluzone” high dose flu shots for seniors and  those 65 and up.
  • To minimize flu transmission, it's advisable to avoid close contact with individuals currently experiencing illness.
  • If you are feeling unwell, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent the transmission of the virus.

In addition, practicing proper cough and sneeze etiquette is vital.

For flu cases, the CDC recommends that individuals stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever has subsided, except when seeking medical care or fulfilling essential needs. Fever should naturally subside without the need for fever-reducing medications.

For RSV:

  • The CDC suggests that all children under 8 months of age receive nirsevimab to protect them during their first RSV season.
  • Consider getting a Nasal swab RSV test at AFC Urgent CareSpringfield.
  • An RSV vaccine is available to protect adults aged 60 years and older from RSV disease, as older adults face a higher risk of severe RSV-related complications due to the gradual weakening of their immune systems.
  • When coughing or sneezing, it's important to use a tissue or your shirt sleeve as a safeguard rather than 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 Springfield Has Your Back

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of RSV in infants, children and adults so that they can be treated as soon as possible. We also highly suggest getting vaccinated for the flu, so you can avoid this virus, too! 

For this reason, AFC Urgent Care in Springfield is offering RSV nasal swab tests and flu shots to help you have peace of mind this holiday season. We also offer COVID testing and flu shots because those winter illnesses are circulating around Massachusetts, too!

Our commitment to your convenience also includes:

  • 7-Day Availability: Recognizing that health concerns can arise at any time, we maintain operational readiness seven days a week. Whether it's a regular weekday, weekend, or even a holiday, you can rely on us.
  • Walk-In: We cater to your preferences, allowing you to walk in
  • Online Payment System: We endeavor to simplify your healthcare experience. Our online payment system empowers you to manage your bills effortlessly.

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Call (413) 782-4878 for more information about our Springfield urgent care services.