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What is a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

A respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory tract of infants, children, and adults.

People with either a weakened immune system or underlying health conditions, such as asthma or heart disease, are more likely to contract this virus and suffer more serious complications.

RSV is a "common cold" virus, meaning that it usually goes away on its own. However, it can be dangerous to infants and people with respiratory conditions. It is one of the most common viruses to cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children.

What is a Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Symptoms of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

The most common symptoms of RSV infection are:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headache

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing

RSV can be a serious infection in infants, young children, older adults, and adults with a compromised immune system. It can also lead to pneumonia and other respiratory infections, or even death if not properly treated.

Causes of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

RSV is a respiratory virus with flu-like symptoms. It is highly transmissible to healthy children, adults, and older adults through exposure to an infected person.

Diagnosis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

The diagnosis of RSV in children and adults involves physical examination and laboratory tests. Signs and symptoms are not enough to diagnose or rule out the presence of the virus.

Because other kinds of bacterial, viral, or  respiratory infections have similar symptoms,  lab tests should be conducted to identify the specific type of infection.

  • Laboratory tests may include chest X-rays, blood tests, and urine tests.
  • RT PCR and antigen tests can detect possible RSV infection.

Who Is At Risk of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

1. Infants and Children

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most common lower respiratory tract infection of infants and children.

RSV infection leads to inflammation of the lower respiratory tract, which can cause life-threatening complications.

Infants and children at risk of RSV include the following:

  • Infants who are premature at birth
  • Infants 6 months and younger
  • Children who are diagnosed with lung disease and congenital heart disease
  • Children with a compromised immune system

For infants and children with mild symptoms, prescribed medications can prevent the condition from worsening.

However, for those with severe cases, hospitalization may be required. Oxygen and ventilators are also needed for special cases in which breathing support is provided.

2. Older Adults

Adults usually have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic after contracting RSV.

The symptoms of fever, headache, cough and fatigue are often mistaken for common colds. With proper medication and care, these symptoms eventually last for a couple of days.

In some cases, adults can still get infected and develop severe symptoms, especially those individuals who are considered at high-risk of RSV.

  • Adults with comorbidities related to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
  • Adults with low level of immunity
  • Seniors who are 65 years and older

How is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Spread?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is spread through droplets produced by coughing and sneezing, so it is possible to catch the virus when you get into close contact with an infected person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how RSV is transmitted from one person to another.

  • When the droplets from an infected person are transmitted through coughing and sneezing
  • After touching contaminated surfaces and things without washing or disinfecting your hands
  • Getting the virus through direct contact (i.e. kissing, touching)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Treatment of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

There is no cure for RSV. The symptoms are usually mild and last for a few days. Others may have stronger immunity against the virus that helps them recover faster.

However, RSV can be serious in people with chronic lung disease or children and older adults who have weaker immune systems. Nevertheless, symptoms can be manageable in many ways to prevent the worsening of the condition.

  • Take fever reducers to help lower the body temperature
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • If symptoms persist or worsen over time, seek immediate medical attention

Prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Preventive measures lower your risk of transmitting and contracting the virus. Adhering to basic health standards even when catching a flu is important.

To prevent RSV from spreading, here are some useful reminders:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  2. Keep your distance from people who have the symptoms.
  3. Always wash your hands with soap and water. You can use alcohol or sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
  4. Use disinfectants to clean your house, especially surfaces and things that come in contact with hands.
  5. Stay at home when you are sick to prevent the virus from spreading.

Do you want to be part of our ongoing study on RSV in Tampa? Get in touch with us.

Santos Research Center has been conducting further studies to find the best treatment for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).

If you are interested in participating in our clinical trial for RSV in Tampa, contact us at (813) 249-9100 or visit www.santosresearch.com.

Santos Research Center, Corp. is a research facility conducting paid clinical trials, in partnership with major pharmaceutical companies & CROs. We work with patients from across the Tampa Bay area.

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5927 Webb Rd Tampa FL 33615
(813) 249-9100
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