What is RSV?
RSV is a common and contagious respiratory virus that usually causes mild symptoms but can be dangerous in certain adults, including older adults and adults with certain underlying conditions.
What are symptoms of RSV?
RSV can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, headache, and tiredness. While most RSV symptoms are mild, in more severe RSV infections, shortness of breath or trouble breathing can occur.
If I get RSV, how long am I contagious?
People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. However, some adults with weakened immune systems can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks.
I thought RSV only affected babies. Can adults get RSV?
Anyone can get RSV. In older adults, there is an increased risk for severe disease, especially for those 65 years or older and adults with certain underlying chronic conditions.
How serious is RSV for adults?
RSV is a common, contagious respiratory virus that is usually mild, but can severely impact adults, especially older adults and adults with certain underlying chronic conditions.
If I’m healthy, do I need to be worried about RSV?
Being an older adult can put you at increased risk for severe complications due to RSV, even if you’re healthy.
How can I be tested for RSV?
There are various types of tests for RSV. Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
How can I prevent RSV?
Some ways you can help prevent RSV infection are to:
- Wash your hands
- Keep your hands off your face
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect surfaces around you
Why should I be concerned about RSV?
The body’s immune system typically weakens with older age and has a harder time fighting off viruses, such as RSV. If you are 65 or older or have certain underlying conditions, you may be at a higher risk for severe complications due to RSV. At your next appointment, talk to your doctor about your risk.
What underlying conditions put you at increased risk for complications due to RSV?
If you have asthma, congestive heart failure (CHF), or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may be at increased risk of complications from RSV. Additionally, if you have coronary artery disease (CAD) or diabetes, you may be at increased risk of hospitalization due to RSV.
If I have diabetes, am I at increased risk of hospitalization due to RSV?
Yes. Older adults with diabetes may be at increased risk of hospitalization due to RSV.
If I have CHF, am I at increased risk of severe complications due to RSV?
Yes. Older adults with CHF may be at increased risk of severe complications due to RSV, such as hospitalization.
If I have COPD or asthma, am I at increased risk of severe complications due to RSV?
Yes. Older adults with COPD or asthma may be at increased risk of severe complications due to RSV, such as hospitalization.
Questions to ask your doctor about RSV
Here are some helpful questions you may want to ask your doctor. Review the questions below that most relate to you for your next appointment.
- I’m an older adult and I have an underlying condition. What is my risk of complications due to RSV?
- What can I do to feel better if I get RSV?
- How could RSV impact my underlying condition?
- How long should I isolate if I’m infected with RSV?
- Is there a test for RSV?
- What can I do to help prevent RSV?
Visiting your doctor to discuss RSV?
To get the most out of your appointment, remember to:
Write down your questions.
Take notes or have someone with you to help listen.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your health is a top priority.