Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can cause serious illness, especially for young children and the elderly. Learn about the causes and symptoms of RSV and how to protect yourself and your family from illness this winter. Visit AFC Urgent Care Edgewater for preventative healthcare services this winter.
Causes and Symptoms of RSV
RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is a viral infection that targets the respiratory system. RSV most commonly affects young children, however, anyone can contract RSV. Every year, over 60,000 children younger than 5 years of age are hospitalized due to severe RSV infections.
The symptoms caused by RSV can range in severity from very mild cold-like symptoms to severe respiratory distress. Catching symptoms early can help prevent severe symptoms from developing.
Symptoms of RSV Include:
●Low blood oxygen levels
RSV infections can look very similar to a cold or more mild respiratory illness. However, they can rapidly worsen and lead to scary symptoms such as trouble breathing. If left unmanaged, RSV can develop into secondary illnesses such as pneumonia, which is why it is important to effectively manage symptoms and seek medical care if you suspect you or a loved one may have RSV.
Is RSV Contagious?
RSV is caused by a viral infection. Like other viral infections, such as colds and the flu, RSV is incredibly contagious. You can catch RSV by breathing in airborne germs from infected individuals. This commonly occurs in the winter months when we spend lots of our time indoors. You can also contract RSV from indirect contact like touching a surface that an infected individual previously touched, as well as direct contact with an infected person.
RSV has an incubation period of 4 to 6 days, which means that someone can be spreading the infection without knowing that they have it. This makes it vital to take steps to prevent RSV so that you can stay healthy this winter. It also makes it important to seek medical diagnosis as soon as you think you may be experiencing RSV symptoms, to avoid spreading it to others.
Who Is Eligible For the RSV Vaccine?
The risk of severe RSV infection is far less for healthy adults than it is for the elderly or for young children. Because of this, the RSV vaccine is not widely recommended or available for young healthy individuals like other vaccines such as the flu shot. Speak to your healthcare provider regarding your RSV vaccine eligibility, especially if you have underlying health conditions that could make you more susceptible to severe illness caused by RSV.
Currently, the RSV vaccine is available and recommended for individuals over 60 years of age, as well as women who are 32 to 36 weeks pregnant. Due to the risk of severe illness caused by RSV for young children, getting the RSV vaccine while pregnant can offer immunity for infants for the first 6 months of life. Children under 18 months of age are also eligible for the vaccine.
General Illness Prevention Tips
If you are not within the recommended age groups that should receive the RSV vaccine, that is because the chances of you suffering severe illness from the RSV virus are very low. However, like any illness, symptoms can vary from person to person. You should still take steps to help decrease your odds of contracting RSV and stay healthy this winter.
Illness Prevention Tips:
●Wash your hands regularly
●Disinfect surfaces often
●Carry hand sanitizer
●Avoid sick individuals
●Seek medical diagnosis early if you’re experiencing illness symptoms
RSV is most commonly seen from early fall to early spring, although your climate may alter this timeline. Taking simple steps to prevent illness will not only help you avoid contracting RSV, but can also help prevent other viral infections such as a cold or flu.
Visit AFC Urgent Care Edgewater for Preventative Healthcare Services
There is nothing worse than suffering from an illness during the winter. Taking steps to avoid getting sick this winter can help protect yourself from serious illness, and prevent you from spreading illness to others. At AFC Urgent Care Edgewater, we offer a variety of preventative healthcare services in addition to same-day urgent care services at our walk-in clinic. Simply walk in to receive care, or schedule an appointment online.
Whether you’re looking for ways to reduce your risk of illness or think you are experiencing RSV symptoms, AFC Urgent Care Edgewater can help. Our facility features an on-site laboratory for rapid diagnostic testing when it’s convenient for you. We accept most medical insurance plans and offer short wait times. Walk in today for preventative healthcare and same-day illness diagnosis and treatment. For additional questions regarding our clinic, please contact us directly by calling 410-956-3394.