How is RSV Diagnosed?

November 8, 2022

Recently, communities have begun to notice a sharp increase in RSV cases. RSV, also known as respiratory syncytial virus, is a highly contagious infection that causes cold-like symptoms. Many people believe RSV is only diagnosed in children, but in fact, it can affect people of all ages. For most healthy children and adults, RSV feels similar to a moderate cold, but for others the infection is a lot more severe and can even lead to complications and hospitalization.

Knowing the symptoms and diagnosis of RSV can help families determine whether they need to seek professional medical care. At AFC Urgent Care Stoneham, our team of healthcare providers can test for RSV using Abbott ID NOW RSV tests and offer treatment regimens for mild infections. Visit the walk-in clinic today with no appointment necessary.

Signs and Symptoms of RSV

As mentioned, the symptoms of RSV are similar to the common cold, primarily causing congestion and a cough. The symptoms will usually pass on their own – between a week and two weeks – with a lot of rest and fluids. However, severe infections will cause more severe symptoms, specifically dealing with breathing trouble.

The common symptoms of mild RSV infections include:

  • Congestion
  • Stuffy / Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Low-grade Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Reduced appetite

The common symptoms of severe RSV infections include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe “barking” cough
  • Wheezing
  • Fast breathing
  • Pauses in breathing

How is RSV Diagnosed and Treated?

RSV is diagnosed in a few different ways depending on what’s available at the medical office you visit. Oftentimes, a medical provider will ask about any noticeable symptoms, and conduct a physical exam to diagnose RSV. Some physicians may do a nasal swab test or a chest x-ray to check for lung congestion in severe infections.  The walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Stoneham is equipped with comprehensive RSV testing. We use Abbott ID NOW RSV tests to accurately diagnose RSV in patients of all ages.

There is no specific treatment plan that can rid the infection. Medications like antibiotics do not help since RSV is a viral illness, not bacterial. However, if you or your child’s infection leads to a bacterial infection, like bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics could help. However, there are treatment options that can provide symptom relief.

When to Seek Treatment

Whenever you or a loved one starts to notice the warning signs of RSV, it’s always beneficial to be properly diagnosed. Since the symptoms are so closely related to a cold, it can be hard to distinguish them on your own, without a proper test. If your child is immunocompromised, or if you have underlying health conditions, you should seek emergent care.

If symptoms worsen or don’t improve after seven days, seek treatment. Additionally, if a high-grade fever is present (a fever that rises above 104°F) or if there are signs of difficult breathing, poor sleep in children, chest or ear pain, you should seek immediate medical care. Remember, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, so take advantage of the quality and convenient family care at AFC Stoneham.

Contact AFC Urgent Care Stoneham for Testing & Treatment

If you or your child is experiencing any RSV symptoms, visit AFC Urgent Care Stoneham today for testing and care. Our team can diagnose the virus using RSV Abbott ID NOW tests, and develop the most effective treatment plan for your family. AFC Stoneham is open seven days a week, with walk-in visits always welcomed and most major insurance carriers accepted. Low-cost treatment is available for self-paying patients. For more information about RSV testing call us directly at (781) 279-4000.

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