One common misconception is that the common cold is just a single disease. In reality, it’s a term used to describe symptoms that a range of viral and bacterial infections have in common. One example is the respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. This viral infection typically appears outside the summer months but can happen at any time of year. While most who experience an RSV infection won’t experience severe symptoms, knowing what to do when they occur is essential.
Learn About The Risks Of Respiratory Syncytial Virus
While RSV is similar to other common cold causes, its potential for severe complications sets it apart. Those at risk are primarily those in vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, and those who have compromised immune systems. While they share many symptoms, some notable things set the two apart; these include:
- Severity – RSV is typically more severe than common cold cases, especially in younger patients. It can lead to the development of bronchiolitis, which causes inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. Warning signs of this are wheezing and difficulty breathing, though respiratory failure can occur in severe cases.
- Pneumonia Risks – It’s also possible for RSV to develop into pneumonia, which can be life-threatening in at-risk patients. Those with compromised immunity and the elderly are the most at risk of developing pneumonia.
- Duration – Most forms of the common cold last only 7-10 days. RSV, on the other hand, has been known to last more than two weeks.
There are no known effective treatments available for RSV. For the majority of those experiencing an infection, it will clear without the need for additional treatment. When treatment becomes necessary, it focuses on managing symptoms and avoiding complications. Some of the treatment options used include:
- Over-The-Counter pain relievers, including NSAIDs and acetaminophen for discomfort and fever.
- Nasal saline drops for relief from congestion.
- Hospitalization can be necessary in severe cases. Mechanical ventilation, intravenous fluids, and oxygen therapy can become part of the treatment at this stage.
It’s essential to take steps to prevent RSV in vulnerable patients. This can best be achieved using the following techniques:
- Cover the mouth and nose when sneezing.
- Frequent hand washing using soap and water. This should take at least 20 seconds and be done after sneezing, coughing, and blowing the nose. It should also be done before eating and after using the restroom.
- Avoid those already sick.
- Disinfect their environment often, including toys, phones, and doorknobs.
Contact Alternative Health Center For The Woodlands For RSV Prevention Tips
RSV may share many symptoms with the common cold, but its associated risks are much higher. In addition to the methods of prevention listed above, ensuring your overall health is in good shape is equally important. This will help boost your immune system and prevent the condition’s onset. If you want to learn more about maintaining your whole-body health and preventing potentially dangerous diseases like RSV, contact us at (281) 419-9104. We’ll help you and your entire family bolster your immune system, live healthier, and experience enhanced overall health.