Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Jan 01, 2022

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a contagious infection of the lungs common among children, especially those below two years. This seasonal and highly contagious infection starts with cold-like symptoms that are often mild. However, with progression, RSV can develop into pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Understanding RSV

As you seek ​RSV treatment in Houston, TX, it makes a difference when you know a thing or two about the condition. The first thing you should know is that, although RSV is common among children, adults too can get it. Respiratory disease targets the lungs and bronchioles. If you are healthy, the RSV infection may only manifest mild symptoms. The cold-like symptoms will go away on their own with self-care.

However, some patients experience a severe infection that necessitates hospitalization. Whether ​RSV treatment for infants or adults, you will need urgent care when the condition develops into pneumonia or bronchiolitis. The stakes are higher if the patient is too young or too old. Ideally, ​RSV treatment for adults is mandatory for patients over 65 years, while children under six months also need urgent care.

Further, RSV is known as a seasonal disease, more like the flu. In the United States, RSV is common during late fall through to early spring. It is why you must employ swimming safety measures for the upcoming summer months as a precaution to overcome seasonal respiratory viruses.

How Is RSV Spread?

During the first seven days of infection, RSV is very contagious. As soon as you start having symptoms, seek ​RSV treatment near you to prevent spreading the disease to other people. However, even after the first seven days of infection, the disease can still be spread to other people, particularly those with a weak immune system. At Memorial Heights Emergency Center, we are very careful about handling RSV patients around other patients with underlying health problems.

RSV spreads through close contact with infected persons. The virus is spread through the air when the infected person sneezes or coughs around you. The virus gets to your system through your eyes, mouth, or nose. It can also be spread by touching objects touched by an infected person since the virus can live on objects for several hours.

Who Gets Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

Anyone can get a respiratory virus. However, RSV is common among young children and senior adults as mentioned earlier. Most children contract RSV before they reach two years. The infection rate in children is so rampant that doctors say that almost all children under two years get the infection at least once. Over two years, children can still get RSV, especially if they play around and share toys with infected kids. Some children need urgent care in a ​Houston emergency room, while others can manage the illness without being hospitalized. It depends on the immune system of an individual.

For adults, RSV can spread from the children they handle. Over 150,000 older adults get hospitalized for RSV every year. Worse, about 14,000 or older adults die from RSV due to complications. RSV can become a life-threatening condition to both children and adults in the following categories:

  1. Prematurely born babies – because their lungs are underdeveloped.
  2. Infants – especially those under six months.
  3. Patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  4. Patients with underlying health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, to mention a few.
  5. Patients with lung diseases and heart conditions.
  6. Patients with weak immune systems.
  7. Adults that are older than 65 years

Recipients of transplanted organs.

Symptoms of RSV

The symptoms of this infection differ from one patient to another, depending on age and underlying health factors. The common symptoms are categorized into two:

a. Symptoms for infants 

  1. Decreased appetite
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sneezing and coughing
  4. Fever
  5. Pauses in breathing
  6. Tiredness and decreased physical activity
  7. Irritability
  8. Discoloration of the lips – they become bluish
  9. Wheezing
  10. Rapid breathing

b. Symptoms for adults 

  1. Mild headaches
  2. Congestion
  3. Runny nose
  4. Sore throat
  5. Fever
  6. Fatigue and tiredness
  7. Difficulty breathing properly


Regardless of your age, when you have any symptoms of respiratory disorders, you should consider seeking medication. Be attentive to cold-like symptoms that do not go away after a few days. Diagnosis by a doctor is the best way to sort out your health and get the appropriate medication.

January 1, 2022
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