Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV?)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus affecting the respiratory system that often causes symptoms similar to a mild cold. Recovery from RSV typically takes a week, but it may become severe in infants and older adults.

RSV symptoms can include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever

In most cases, these symptoms won’t appear all at once but in stages. Additionally, symptoms for young infants with RSV may include breathing difficulties, irritability, and decreased activity.

How does RSV impact healthcare?

RSV is a very common infection, with most children experiencing it by the age of two. While it typically goes away within a week or two, in some cases, it can cause more severe health problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. RSV is the most common cause of these more serious health problems in children less than a year old.

Most cases of RSV do not require hospitalization. Still, some cases, especially those in older adults and infants younger than six months, may require hospitalization if there is difficulty breathing or dehydration. In very severe cases, IV fluids, additional oxygen, or intubation may be needed.