What is RSV?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common virus that can cause cough, fever, and congestion. In more severe cases RSV can cause pneumonia, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Who can get RSV?
In the past, RSV was considered a childhood illness, but this is simply not true. Each year there are approximately 2 million adults over 65 who get RSV, and over 177,000 of those become hospitalized, and over half of those individuals have chronic lung disease.1
How is RSV transmitted?
Droplets from a cough or sneeze or touching surfaces with the virus on it such as light switches can spread RSV.2
What do I do if I get RSV?
If you are having symptoms of RSV, reach out to your health care provider. People with RSV can be contagious for about a week.2 Over-the-counter medications are often used to treat pain, fever, and cough. Make sure that you follow the recommendations of your health care team before taking any new medication. Rest and be sure to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.
How can I avoid RSV?
RSV is most common during the fall, winter, and spring months. Washing your hands and cleaning high-touch surfaces can help prevent the spread of RSV. If you are an adult with an underlying health condition that puts you at risk for severe complications of RSV such as chronic heart or lung disease, it is important to take preventive measures. Using masks, and handwashing, when you have close contact with children who may have been exposed to RSV through school or daycare, or anyone who is sick can help you stay healthier.
- Epidemiology and burden of respiratory syncytial virus in older adults in the U.S. stacks.cdc.gov. Accessed August 8, 2022. https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/118594
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html