A contagious virus that can cause infections in the lungs and respiratory tract.
You may have heard of the respiratory syncytial virus, in fact most people encounter RSV more than once, sometimes within the same year. Throughout older childhood and most of adulthood you may catch RSV during the winter and experience symptoms similar to the common cold. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include nasal congestion, cough, fever, wheezing, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.
What is so concerning about RSV?
It’s known that RSV shows severe symptoms in infants. However, recent studies have seen an increasing percentage of infected older adults with severe respiratory complications requiring hospitalization and occasional fatality.
I’ve had RSV before, so my immune system knows how to respond.
As we age, we encounter a natural degradation of our immune systems. While you may have encountered RSV in the past, infection after 65 years of age could entail severe respiratory complications as the immune system loses its ability to fight the virus. Studies show that RSV causes approximately 170,000 hospitalizations and around 14,000 deaths per year among older adults.
What can I do if I get infected?
There is currently no vaccine for the prevention of RSV, and because it’s a virus, antibiotics do not work. There are some treatments available, though usually pricey and used in extreme cases if you are already hospitalized.
The good news is there are several new preventative vaccines currently being developed. As an ENCORE Research community member, you have access to our cutting-edge research trials and are the first to know about new research. If you are interested in getting involved in any of our research studies, call your local office today!
Written by Lana Borema