Flu Vs. RSV: Understanding The Differences In 2023

October 1, 2023

Provider at AFC Urgent Care Vernon encouraging everyone to get their flu shots to rule out one virus this winter

As we transition to the winter season, welcoming the crisp air and vibrant foliage, we also encounter unwelcome visitors: the flu and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). AFC Urgent Care Vernon understands the concerns about running into one of these viruses, including COVID-19 as well. With that being said, AFC Urgent Care Vernon has created a guide on what you need to know about RSV and the flu, including safety and precautionary tips like flu shots and testing for RSV.

Understanding The Differences Between Flu and RSV

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza, often referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory ailment caused by influenza viruses that infiltrate and infect the respiratory system, including the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. Some individuals, such as those aged 65 and older, young children, and individuals with specific health conditions, are at a heightened risk of experiencing severe complications resulting from the flu. There are two primary categories of influenza (flu) viruses: types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that consistently circulate among humans, often termed human influenza viruses, are responsible for the yearly emergence of seasonal flu epidemics.

Common symptoms may include:

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

While most individuals recover from the flu, it can lead to severe complications, particularly among those with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.

RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

Respiratory syncytial virus, abbreviated as RSV, is a prevalent respiratory virus that typically induces mild symptoms resembling those of a common cold. The majority of people recover within one to two weeks, but RSV can pose a significant threat. Infants and elderly adults are more susceptible to developing severe RSV symptoms, occasionally necessitating hospitalization. Vaccines are available to shield older adults from severe RSV, while monoclonal antibody products are accessible for the protection of infants and young children against severe RSV. Common symptoms may include:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Fever
  • Respiratory difficulties

In severe cases, RSV can lead to respiratory distress, particularly in infants and the elderly.

Protecting Yourself from RSV and the Flu

For the Flu:

  • The CDC strongly recommends receiving an annual flu vaccine as the primary and most crucial measure to guard against flu viruses. Also please note that we also offer “fluzone” high dose flu shots for seniors and  those 65 and up.
  • It is advisable for everyone aged 6 months and older to obtain an annual flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are currently ill.
  • If you find yourself unwell, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent virus transmission.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette.

In cases of the flu, the CDC advises individuals to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever has subsided, with the exception of seeking medical care or fulfilling essential needs. The fever should naturally dissipate without the need for fever-reducing medications.

For RSV:

  • The CDC recommends that all children under 8 months of age receive nirsevimab to safeguard them during their first RSV season.
  • Consider obtaining a Nasal swab RSV test at AFC Urgent Care Vernon.
  • An RSV vaccine is accessible to protect adults aged 60 years and older from RSV disease. Older adults are at a greater risk than their younger counterparts for experiencing severe RSV-related complications due to the gradual weakening of their immune systems.
  • When coughing or sneezing, employ a tissue or your shirt sleeve rather than your hands as a safeguard.

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 Vernon: Your Healthcare Ally

At AFC Urgent Care Vernon, we prioritize your health and well-being. We are here to provide prompt and professional care. Whether it's a regular weekday, weekend, or even a holiday, you can rely on us for: 

  • Flexible Walk-In and Appointment Scheduling: We cater to your preferences, allowing you to choose between walking in or scheduling an appointment. Our adaptable approach ensures that you receive the care you require on your terms.
  • Effortless Online Payment System: We strive to simplify your healthcare experience. Our online payment system empowers you to manage your bills with ease.
  • RSV testing, flu shots, COVID-19 testing and all of your other urgent care needs

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