RSV in Adults
When a person becomes infected with RSV, the virus begins to multiply within the body. After four to six days, RSV symptoms can begin. The period between becoming infected and the start of RSV symptoms is called the RSV incubation period.
In order to make a diagnosis of RSV in adults, the doctor will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam, including listening to the lungs with a stethoscope. An RSV diagnosis is difficult to make in adults, because RSV symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory viruses, such as a virus that causes the common cold. If necessary, the doctor may order a special lab test that can help diagnose RSV in adults.
There is no treatment that will kill RSV; therefore, RSV treatment focuses on treating the symptoms as the body fights the RSV.
RSV in adults most often causes less severe RSV symptoms than those seen in children. The elderly are at increased risk for developing a serious RSV infection.
More severe RSV in adults can occur in those who:
- Are institutionalized (placed in the care of an institution)
- Take medicines or have medical conditions that affect the immune system.