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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection - Topic Overview

When a person with RSV is otherwise healthy, symptoms usually get better in a week or two.

RSV can be serious when the symptoms are very bad or when it leads to other problems, like pneumonia. Certain people are more likely to have problems with RSV:

  • Babies younger than 6 months, especially those born early (prematurely)
  • People with immune system problems
  • People with heart or lung problems
  • Adults older than 65

These people sometimes need treatment in a hospital. So it's important to watch the symptoms and call your doctor if they get worse.

It's very hard to keep from catching RSV, just like it's hard to keep from catching a cold. But you can lower the chances by practicing good health habits. Wash your hands often, and teach your child to do the same. See that your child gets all the vaccines your doctor recommends.

Medicines to prevent RSV may be given to babies and children who are more likely to have problems with the infection. Sometimes these medicines don't prevent RSV, but they may keep symptoms from getting serious.

Learning about RSV infection:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 25, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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