What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a viral infection that impacts the respiratory system. The severity of RSV depends upon your age, general health, and underlying or chronic medical conditions. Some cases of RSV are no more severe than a cold; other RSV infections, primarily in infants and the elderly, can be much more serious requiring hospitalizations. Learn about the Respiratory Syncytial Virus factors here.
What causes RSV?
The RSV virus is easily passed through respiratory secretions that are inhaled. An infected person is most contagious during the first few days of the infection, but may stay contagious for weeks after contracting RSV.
RSV enters the body through the nose, mouth, or eyes when making direct contact with an infected individual, such as kissing or shaking hands. RSV can also be transferred from objects that an infected person had touched—it can live for hours on surfaces such as doorknobs.
What are the symptoms of RSV?
The symptoms of RSV are often the same as those of a cold. The most common symptoms are dry cough, low-grade fever, headache, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.
In more serious cases of RSV, symptoms can be severe: high fever, rapid or difficult breathing, high fever, cough, wheezing, and bluish skin color (especially in fingers and around the lips). Infants infected with RSV may show no or few symptoms, but often will not eat or become more irritable and/or lethargic than usual. They will also take shorter, more rapid breaths.
When should I see a doctor for RSV?
The usual recovery time for RSV is two weeks or less. However, in certain cases, RSV can become life threatening, especially for those with chronic health problems or infants (particularly if born prematurely).
A physician should be seen if the infected individual has a high fever or has difficulty breathing. Also, immediate medical attention is needed if the person’s lips or nail beds appear blue in color due to lack of oxygen. Learn about treatments for RSV here.
Female RSV StudyJean Brown Research is conducting a clinical research study for an investigational RSV vaccine. Participants who are selected for the study will receive a no-cost RSV vaccination, study-related health care, and up to $650 in compensation for time and travel.
To qualify for the study, participants must be female, between 18 and 35 years of age, and healthy. Visit Jean Brown Research’s Female RSV Study page.