RSV in Adults

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a virus that is very common in children, and can reinfect an adult who previously had an infection. The symptoms of RSV in adults are similar to those of the common cold, including runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and other symptoms. The adult RSV symptoms are usually less severe than the symptoms of RSV in children. The elderly are at increased risk for developing a serious RSV infection.

An Overview of RSV in Adults

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes respiratory infections. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the bronchioles within the lungs) and pneumonia among infants and children under one year of age. It is also believed that by the age of three, almost all children will have had an RSV infection.
 
Reinfection of RSV in adults is very common.
 

Transmission of RSV in Adults

RSV is spread by respiratory secretions, through close contact with infected people, or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. Infection can occur when infectious material comes into contact with mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, or nose, and possibly through the inhalation of droplets generated by a sneeze or cough.
 

Symptoms of RSV in Adults

In adults, RSV symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. These RSV symptoms can include:
 
Severe lower respiratory tract disease can occur at any age. If severe symptoms of RSV occur, a person can experience:
 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Inability to get enough oxygen
  • A bluish or purplish tinge to skin.
     
 
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

RSV Disease

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