What are the symptoms of RSV?
People with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) present symptoms usually from 4 to 6 days after infection. Symptoms of RSV infection include:
- Runny nose
- Decreased appetite
Symptoms usually appear in stages. Infants with RSV may show limited symptoms, like irritability, decreased activity and breathing issues. Nearly every child will get RSV by their second year. Adults age 60 and over have a higher risk of severe infection.
How do I treat RSV?
If you have RSV, please remember that:
- Antiviral medication is not recommended for infections.
- Most RSV infections, particularly for children, go away on their own within two weeks. A fever, for instance, is an expected symptom for RSV and can be treated at home with acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Still, severe illness from RSV can happen. In these cases:
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever.
- Never give aspirin to children.
- Drink fluids.
- Consult your provider before giving your child a non-prescription cold medicine.
How do I prevent RSV?
For two age groups, the best measure is prevention and the best preventative step is getting vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults ages 60 years and older get an RSV vaccination but only after first consulting with a health care provider. Two RSV vaccines have been approved for use for adults in this age group:
- Arexvy (GSK adjuvanted RSV vaccine)
- Abrysvo (Pfizer RSV vaccine)
For young children up to 19 months, a vaccine does not exist. But Beyfortus, a monoclonal antibody treatment known by its generic name of Nirsevimab, has become newly available. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that emulate the immune system’s ability to fight viruses. Parents are encouraged to consult a provider to assess if Beyfortus is appropriate for their child.
Still, other preventative steps are the best and most proven ways to protect yourself and your child from RSV. These steps include:
- Staying updated on all vaccinations, including flu shots.
- Washing hands.
- Avoiding contact with those who are ill.
- Wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces.