RSV, Mama Disrupt

‘Tis the season for RSV – what you need to know

In Features, Stories, Wellness by Nicole Fuge

Kids are known for bringing all sorts of gross germs home [thanks a bunch]. So you probs know the signs and symptoms of a lot of viruses getting around. One you defo need to know about is RSV. 

By Mama Disrupt®

We know Winter hasn’t fully set in yet, but we’re already feeling the onset of the cold and flu season.

We’ve all been pretty focused on COVID-19 and the flu in recent years, but have you heard whispers about another virus on the block: RSV?

“The drill is pretty similar to that for the flu and COVID-19: regular hand washing and sanitiser are your best friends.”

So, what exactly is RSV?

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a little bugger that can cause respiratory infections. It’s one of around 200 viruses that can bring on a common cold.

Most kiddos will actually have their run-in with RSV at least once before their second birthday. But it’s important to note that one bout with RSV doesn’t mean you’re off the hook – repeat infections can happen, especially in children.

While most cases of RSV are pretty mild, it can get serious for the young ones, our elderly, and those with conditions that suppress their immune system.

Catching this virus can lead to chest infections like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It can also cause ear infections and the coughing related to the illness can trigger asthma symptoms.

RSV, kids and fears, mama disrupt

What does RSV look like?

The first signs usually include fever, a runny nose, coughing, difficulty breathing or wheezing, and a decreased appetite.

Typically, most cases clear up after about two weeks. But, a persistent cough associated with the virus can hang around for up to a month.

How does it get around?

Much like the flu and COVID-19, RSV is spread through droplets. It can be transmitted through inhaling droplets from an infected person who’s talking, coughing, or sneezing. It can also spread by touching surfaces with these droplets and then touching your face.

How long is RSV contagious?

Generally, RSV sticks around for about three to eight days after symptoms start. But, if your immune system is a bit weak, this period could be longer.

Symptoms will usually appear between three and 10 days after coming into contact with RSV.

RSV, kids and fears, mama disrupt

Wondering how to shield yourself from RSV?

The drill is pretty similar to that for the flu and COVID-19: regular hand washing and sanitiser are your best friends.

When you cough or sneeze, aim for your elbow, and if you’re feeling symptomatic, pop on a mask in crowded areas and high-risk settings like aged care homes and hospitals.

People showing symptoms should steer clear of infants, older folks, and those with weakened immune systems.

Is there treatment?

Unfortunately antibiotics won’t do the trick, because they don’t work against viruses. So the focus needs to be on soothing those symptoms.

This usually means plenty of bed rest, staying hydrated, and using paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief.

However, for infants, small children, older adults and folks with certain health conditions, a hospital stay might be necessary for IV fluids and extra oxygen.

If you’re worried at all, make sure you drop in to see your GP for a check-up.