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  • Video |

    Infectious Diseases A-Z: Respiratory syncytial virus

    Fall tends to be cold and flu season in the U.S. It’s also when RSV typically begins to circulate.  “RSV is an acronym, for the respiratory syncytial virus,” says Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatrician. “It’s a nearly ubiquitous virus in that it comes around every winter. It…
  • Article |

    If I have RSV, should I avoid small kids or vulnerable adults?

    Candace Nelson
    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common infection that can affect the lungs and respiratory system. For most people, RSV leads to mild cold-like symptoms such as cough, sneezing and runny nose. But complications are more likely among babies, adults with immunocompromising conditions, and older adults. Below, find answers to…
  • Article |

    How to avoid spreading RSV

    Candace Nelson
    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of childhood illness, but adults get it too. For healthy children and adults, an RSV infection is usually mild. It causes symptoms like headache, sneezing and coughing. Similar to the common cold, RSV symptoms usually clear up in about a week or…
  • Article |

    Adults & RSV Fact Sheet

    Andrea Uptmor
    Many people associate respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with babies. And for good reason — this highly contagious virus can be especially serious for infants and children. The threat of RSV is one reason new parents may turn away visitors or ask people to wash their hands before holding the baby.
  • Article |

    Is it a cold or adult RSV? 3 ways to tell

    Andrea Uptmor
    Remember that cold you had last year? It may not have been a cold after all. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can look a lot like the common cold. They both spread through coughs, sneezes and infected surfaces like doorknobs. In healthy adults, symptoms of both viruses are generally mild and…
  • Article |

    RSV and older adults: Who’s at risk?

    Andrea Uptmor
    For most healthy adults, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) might mean a few days on the couch watching reruns. The virus’s cold-like symptoms — a runny nose, cough and sore throat — can feel crummy. But they aren’t typically serious enough to call the doctor. However, that’s not the case for…
  • Article |

    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and cancer

    Alisa Bowman
    When it’s functioning well, your immune system easily traps and fends off the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the upper respiratory tract. As your immune system fights the infection, you might feel stuffed up. Your nose might run, and you may experience a dry cough, a low-grade fever, a sore…
  • Article |

    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and heart disease

    Alisa Bowman
    Respiratory viruses can affect your heart more than you might expect — and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is no exception. In healthy people without heart disease, an RSV infection usually feels and progresses like the common cold. Their noses run. They feel congested. They cough, and they might get…
  • Article |

    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and lung disease

    Alisa Bowman
    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is no big deal for most people. When infected with RSV, many people experience typical cold symptoms — runny nose, congestion, dry cough — for several days. Then it’s over. However, if you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or another lung disease, an RSV…
  • Article |

    The new RSV vaccines for older adults

    Sarah Fielding
    Two respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines are coming to the market nearly 60 years after the National Institutes of Health first attempted to develop one. In May 2023, pharmaceutical companies GSK and Pfizer received approval from the U.S.
  • Article |

    Treating RSV in adults: What to expect

    Andrea Uptmor
    For most adults, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) isn’t high on their list of worries. This contagious virus is so common that almost everyone has had it at least once before the age of 2 — and several times in adulthood as well. For most people, the cold-like symptoms of RSV…
  • Article |

    What’s it like to have RSV as an adult? The patient experience

    Sarah Fielding
    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a powerful virus that typically rears its head in the fall and winter months alongside the flu. It can present as an A strain or a B strain. Once infected with RSV, a person can experience one of several outcomes based on their age and…

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