What is RSV and How to Protect Against It

RSV or Respiratory syncytial virus is a common virus that can cause colds and on some occasions pneumonia and rarely congestive heart failure.

Most people who catch RSV will have cough, runny nose, decreased appetite, and even fever.  Most symptoms will be present for approximately a week and thereafter improve.  However, there are individuals who are at risk of developing severe infections like indicated before (pneumonia).  These individuals include

  • older adults especially those 65 years and older
  • persons with chronic heart or lung disease
  • persons with weakened immune systems
  • premature infants
  • children younger than 2 years old
  • children who have neuromuscular disorders

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • 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 – including kissing, sharing cups or eating utensils with people who have cold-like symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes – by using a tissue or coughing into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces – especially doorknobs and countertops.
  • At this time there is no vaccine against RSV. (Some premature infants are recommended to receive RSV immune globulin injections.)

What do you do if you get sick?

  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and public areas when you are sick.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids unless otherwise instructed by your medical provider.
  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Use fever reducing medicines as needed following directions on the package.
  • If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, follow your action plan.
  • If your appetite is affected, try to eat a lighter bland diet like toast, oatmeal, and fruit.
  • If you have questions, you may speak with one of our nurses for advice or schedule a telemedicine or virtual visit with your medical provider at (323) 635-1140.

What do you do if you get very sick?

  • If you are experiencing a lot of shortness of breath or chest pain or your coloring has changed, then please seek emergency help immediately by calling 911.

For those with Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, LA Care, and Molina, Teladoc is available 24/7 at 1-800-835-2362.

For more information, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site at https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html