RSV Respiratory Syncytical Virus

Public health authorities are monitoring an increase in RSV detections and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations in multiple U.S. regions, with some regions nearing seasonal peak levels.

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, known simply as “RSV,” is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday.

While RSV can affect individuals of all ages (most people recover in a week or two), it can be especially serious for infants, children and older adults.

RSV Symptoms

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

Runny nose

Decrease in appetite





These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

While there is no specific treatment for RSV infection, there are steps that can be taken to relieve symptoms.

Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to children!

Drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).

Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children.

Protect Your Child from RSV

Here are some simple steps to help protect yourself or your child from RSV:

Avoid close contact with sick people

Wash your hand often

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Avoid touching your face and unwashed hands

Clean and disinfect surfaces

If you’re sick, stay home

Serious Health Problems

Healthy adults and infants infected with RSV do not usually need to be hospitalized, but some people with RSV infection, especially older adults and infants younger than 6 months of age, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated.

To learn more about Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), what the symptoms are, and how to prevent it, visit the CDC’s Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) web page.




What is RSV? - CDC

Symptoms of RSV - CDC

RSV in Infants and Young Children - CDC

How does the RSV Spread? - CDC

RSV Prevention - CDC

Treatment for the Flu - CDC

RSV Fact Sheet - English - CDC

RSV - Ficha técnica Adulto - CDC

RSV - Hoja informativa Niños - CDC


For more information and assistance, the Delaware County Health Department Wellness Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to responding to phone calls, the Wellness Line also responds to email inquiries.

Phone: (484) 276-2100 (Available 24/7)


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