RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common respiratory virus that can affect people of all ages. However, it is most serious in infants and older adults, as well as individuals with weakened immune systems or certain underlying health conditions.
Causes and Transmission
RSV is highly contagious and is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can also survive on surfaces for several hours, increasing the risk of transmission through contact with contaminated objects.
What Are The Symptoms of RSV?
The symptoms of RSV infection can vary depending on age and overall health.
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, RSV infection can lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing, dial 911 or visit an ER immediately.
Preventing RSV infection involves practicing good hygiene, such as:
- Washing hands frequently with soap and water
- Avoiding close contact with sick individuals, especially infants and young children
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, especially in childcare settings
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow
There is no specific treatment for RSV infection. In most cases, symptoms can be managed at home with rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications to alleviate fever and discomfort.
What is the RSV Vaccine?
Vaccines are available to protect older adults from severe RSV. Monoclonal antibody products are available to protect infants and young children from severe RSV.
Adults aged 60 years and older
- Adults aged 60 years and older may receive a single dose of RSV vaccine using shared clinical decision-making.
Infants and young children
To prevent severe RSV disease in infants, CDC recommends either maternal RSV vaccination or infant immunization with RSV monoclonal antibody is recommended. Most infants will not need both.
Vaccination for pregnant people
- 1 dose of maternal RSV vaccine during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy, administered September through January. Abrysvo is the only RSV vaccine recommended during pregnancy.