The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a respiratory virus that is currently attacking both children and adults. The CDC says that everyone should watch out for Respiratory Syncytial Virus or “RSV.”
RSV may start out by noticeable symptoms that are very similar to those of the common cold and most people will recover in less than two weeks believing they only had a cold. Some symptoms are coughing, wheezing, loss of appetite, runny nose, and a fever. Those symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold, and most people have actually had RSV before possibly believing it to be a cold.
RSV can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can get infected if you get droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth, or if you touch a surface that has the virus on it, like a doorknob, and then touch your face before washing your hands. Additionally, it can spread through direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV. -CDC
However, the CDC says that RSV can be serious for infants and the elderly. As of now, the government agency says there is no vaccine to prevent the virus either. There is a medicine that can help protect some of the babies. This medicine (called palivizumab) is a series of monthly shots.
RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults. But the virus is rather common. According to the CDC’s own website, almost all children will be infected with RSV by their second birthday, building natural immunities to the infection.
Should you be terrified of RSV? Probably not. The CDC is well-known for the fearmongering to get people to take a flu shot every year (regardless of its efficacy) and often attempts to scare the public into accepting their notions that common illnesses are dangerous.
But, there are ways to help prevent RSV, and these will also help prevent common colds and the flu as well.
Wash your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Washing your hands will help protect you from germs.
Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Germs spread this way.
Avoid close contact with sick people. Avoid close contact, such as kissing, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who have cold-like symptoms.
Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue in the trash afterward and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect surfaces. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch, such as toys and doorknobs. When people infected with RSV touch surfaces and objects, they can leave behind germs. Also, when they cough or sneeze, droplets containing germs can land on surfaces and objects.
Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and public areas when you are sick. This will help protect others from catching your illness.
You could also consider naturally boosting your immune system to help give your body a leg up should you be exposed to the virus or actually come down with any “winter time” illness, such as a cold or the flu.