Who’s At Risk for RSV?

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A little-known respiratory infection called RSV causes thousands of annual hospitalizations.

Are You At Risk for RSV?

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These days, anyone feeling “under the weather” with a cough or fever suspects they may have COVID-19. The fact is, most people have been vaccinated to minimize risk. But even those who have, can contract the virus, with milder flu-like symptoms.

During the late autumn and winter season, different flu strains are prevalent. A lesser known infection called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) also causes between 60,000 and 120,000 annual hospitalizations. This results in 6,000–10,000 deaths among adults 65 years and older and 100–300 deaths in children younger than 5 years old, according to the CDC.

RSV Symptoms

Progressively appearing within 4 to 6 days, symptoms usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Decreasing appetite
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. There is no specific treatment for RSV infection. Pfizer Inc is seeking approval for use of the vaccine, RSVpreF, in adults aged 60 years and older. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to make its decision by May 2023.

RSV Treatment and Prevention

Until specific treatments are available, patients can treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications. Some people with RSV infection, especially older adults and infants younger than 6 months of age, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated. In the most severe cases, a person may require additional oxygen, or IV fluids.

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