(RxWiki News) RSV has been circulating since early summer this year, but it's typically a winter virus. Here's what you need to know to protect your children any time of the year.
RSV — respiratory syncytial virus — is a common respiratory virus passed from person to person. It usually causes cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, coughing/sneezing, fever and wheezing. Symptoms typically show up four to six days after contact with the virus.
RSV is common in young children. In fact, almost all children will have an RSV infection by their second birthday.
Treatment includes symptom management, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for managing body aches and fever. These medications can be found over the counter.
Symptoms are typically mild and usually last one to two weeks. In severe cases, however, hospitalization may be needed. (RSV can lead to serious conditions like pneumonia.) Your health care provider will decide whether hospitalization is necessary.
Some people face a raised risk for severe RSV that requires admission to the hospital. Those at high risk include the following groups:
- Premature infants
- Infants (6 months and younger)
- Children who have certain neuromuscular disorders that affect their swallowing or their ability to clear mucus secretions
- Adults and children (younger than 2) with lung or heart disease
- Adults and children (younger than 2) who have a weak immune system
- Older adults (those 65 years old and older)
To protect your children, you can do the following:
- Avoid being around sick people.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue instead of hands.
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect surfaces around the house.
- Stay home when sick.
Synagis is injected into the muscle before the RSV season starts and is administered every 28 to 30 days during the RSV season. This medication is not approved to treat the symptoms of RSV once a child already has RSV.
Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions.