After a winter of local news reporting on RSV cases, many families in Wylie, Sachse, and elsewhere in north Texas were left wondering what this illness was. The flu is well known, but with a name like Respiratory Syncytial Virus, it can be hard to understand what this means.

To address these concerns about RSV, Wylie ER wants to explain what this virus looks like and what the risks of it are. As a viral infection, RSV can be challenging for certain age groups to fight off, which makes understanding the symptoms and the causes so important.

What is RSV?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a virus that infects the lungs. It is a common virus that infects children and adults. Much like the chicken pox, RSV can be contracted early in life and recovered from easily. Most of the time, it is even treated at home since the symptoms can resemble a bad cold or a mild fever.

The most common symptoms of RSV are:

  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Mild headaches
  • Low-grade fever

These symptoms are very similar to other common illnesses that come and go, so they can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter medicine. But sometimes RSV can grow more severe, and in these cases the symptoms get worse:

  • High-grade fever
  • Severe cough
  • Wheezing and trouble breathing
  • Cyanosis (blue discoloration of the skin due to lack of oxygen in the blood)
  • Unusual lethargy
  • For infants, trouble feeding

When symptoms begin to grow severe and are not receptive to any treatments, this can be a sign of complications with RSV. If the virus cannot be properly treated, then it can lead to additional conditions like pneumonia, ear infections, asthma, or chronic respiratory infections.

When to Seek Help

RSV’s symptoms are very similar to other conditions, like colds or even bad allergies, which makes it difficult to know when a patient should seek professional care. For many kids and adults, RSV is never that severe. It can come and go quickly with store-brand medicines to fight it off. But when infants and elderly family members begin to show symptoms, it can be a cause for worry.

Babies and senior citizens are at a higher risk for RSV complications. Their bodies are often less prepared to fight off the virus and can more easily develop additional illnesses. When an infant or an elderly member of your family begins to present symptoms of RSV, even mild RSV, they should be taken to see a doctor immediately. For older kids and adults, RSV symptoms aren’t considered emergent unless they grow more severe, so it is important to keep an eye on any fevers and lingering coughs.

Treatment & Prevention

Since RSV is a common virus, there are many treatment options available. For severe cases, doctors might recommend certain medications, but many cases will be mild enough that doctors will suggest treating at home with rest and cold medicine. Infections that develop complications will require more extensive treatment plans, which makes it important to see a physician and get treated when you suspect the virus might be severe.

RSV is a virus that is spread mostly through coughing and sneezing. Preventing the spread of it can be tricky at times, but much like preventing the flu and other common infections, there are things families can do everyday to lower their risks of getting RSV. The best ways to stop the spread are:

  • Wash your hands to stop the spread of contagions.
  • Make sure the kitchen, bathroom, and other hard countertops are clean and that all used tissues are thrown away immediately.
  • Don’t share drinking glasses with others.
  • Wash children’s toys regularly to ensure their toys aren’t carrying any contagions.
  • Don’t smoke and limit any exposure to smoking.

If concerned parents take these day-to-day precautions, then the chances of your family contracting RSV will go down. Knowing how to reduce your risks can be key to making sure risky age groups don’t get sick, as well as keep the whole family properly defended from viral infections.

While news reports of RSV can be frightening, Wylie ER wants to make sure that everyone in our community is well informed on this virus. While this is a common virus that can often be treated at home, it does not come without risk factors. Knowing when to seek help is important and doing what you can at home to keep the spread of viruses and other germs minimal is a good step in the right direction.

If any family member starts to feel sick and you’re worried about RSV, then seek help. Wylie ER is open 24/7 with concierge-level care for all ages. Our in-house laboratory makes testing for RSV quick and convenient.

 Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Wylie Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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