What is RSV?
RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. It is a common respiratory illness caused by a virus. Anyone can be infected, but RSV most often causes serious illness in infants and young children. The virus may also cause serious illness in older adults or those with a weakened immune system. RSV infections are more common in the fall and winter. Almost all children will have had RSV by their second birthday.
Why are health officials concerned?
RSV can cause more serious health problems. It can cause bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways in the lung. It also can cause pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Older adults and infants younger than 6 months of age may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or if they become dehydrated. In serious cases, the sick person may require oxygen, IV fluids, or intubation. Rates of hospitalization due to RSV this flu season are higher than past years. (https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/research/rsv-net/dashboard.html)
How does RSV spread?
RSV spreads through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of the infected person. These droplets are spread when a person coughs or sneezes. RSV can also spread through dried respiratory secretions on personal items such as bedclothes. RSV can live on hard surfaces for several hours and on the skin for shorter periods of time.
What are the symptoms of RSV?
How do I know if I have RSV?
RSV is diagnosed by a health care provider based off a symptom assessment and/or RSV testing. Home tests for RSV are not available.
What to do if you or your child have RSV
How can I prevent an RSV infection?
There is no vaccine to prevent RSV but you can take steps to help prevent the spread. If you have cold-like symptoms you should:
Upstate’s Public Health Hotline is available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 315-464-3979.
The hotline is staffed by nurses who will answer questions about RSV, FLU, COVID and other acute illness in children and adults. Hotline nurses can provide recommendations on where to bring your child if they need to be seen by a provider. Your child’s primary care provider is the best place to obtain medical advice. The Upstate Public Health Hotline is available to answer your questions if your Primary Care Provider is not available. In this respiratory season, emergency rooms and urgent care centers are crowded with patients. A call to your Primary Care Provider or the Hotline for advice may provide you with information for care at home so you can avoid long waits for an in-person emergency visit.
Where are cases of RSV occurring?
RSV In the United States Statistics (From CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/research/index.html)
Each year in the United States, RSV leads to approximately:
CDC RSV Page: https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html
New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) RSV Page: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/respiratory_syncytial_virus/
RSV & Infants NYSDOH Fact Sheet: https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/13721.pdf