RSV: What It Is, Symptoms, Testing and More

December 3, 2022

Child blowing his nose because he is sick with RSV from a recent positive result from a nasal swab test he got at AFC Urgent Care Vernon

RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and this year it is the most common cause of a virus that leads to breathing problems in children. It causes “flu” like symptoms and can potentially be severe among babies from 0 to 12 months. RSV is just as contagious as the flu or COVID and easily spread person to person through droplets from sneezing or coughing – which means any caregiver can easily pass it on to an infant. ( So please don’t stop wearing your masks!)

AFC Urgent Care Vernon is addressing the recent surge of RSV cases and has created a guide for parents to understand RSV, what it is, the symptoms, testing and more so that you can try to avoid it this holiday season.

What is RSV And What Are My Child’s Risks?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common type of respiratory illness caused by infection with the RSV virus. The RSV virus causes inflammation of the lower respiratory tract and can cause flu-like symptoms making it a threat this winter season. RSV infections are most common in infants, young children, and older adults who are immunocompromised.

Infections with RSV are usually mild and only last a few days. However, they can be more severe in infants younger than 1 year old and people with weakened immune systems. Infections also tend to recur during the winter months. 

Let’s explore the symptoms, so that you have a better understanding on what to look out for.

The Symptoms of RSV

The signs and symptoms of RSV infections include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest congestion
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose

Testing for RSV

An RSV test, such as a nasal swab test is usually used to see if RSV is the cause of moderate to severe cold symptoms in infants, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Just like COVID testing, a nasal swab test will determine the amount of virus in your nasal cavity. Luckily for you, AFC Urgent Care Vernon offers the RSV nasal swab test, so you can have peace of mind this winter.

Tips for Caring For a Child with RSV

This list is not exhaustive, but if you have to question whether or not you’re putting your child at risk for contracting RSV, then chances are you will. Just remember these things to avoid it altogether:

  • Don’t go to a family gathering if you are sick (you can get others sick)
  • Frequently wash your hands throughout the day (you can spread it to others if you touch contaminated objects)
  • Continue wearing a mask!
  • Don’t let a family member who is sick come to your gathering (even if it’s the holidays, you have to say no. They should know better to not come)
  • Cover your mouth if you are sick and have symptoms of sneezing and coughing

In mild cases of RSV in children, oftentimes OTC medication and humidifiers may help lessen the symptoms of RSV. If symptoms are more severe, take your child to get immediate medical attention.

AFC Urgent Care Vernon Offers RSV Nasal Swab Tests

When in doubt, come get your child tested for RSV at our AFC Urgent Care center in Vernon. We are open 7 days a week and offer walk-ins and appointments online. We can help test your child for RSV using a nasal swab for an accurate diagnosis. 

We also offer flu shots and COVID-19 testing, ! You can’t forget about those illnesses as symptoms can overlap. It’s better to have peace of mind and to avoid getting others sick this holiday season. Although we hope you don’t get sick, getting a diagnosis will help point you in the right direction for treatment so that you can hopefully make up for the time loss with family.

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