With flu season approaching, how to avoid RSV, a highly contagious virus affecting children and adults over 65, should be a top priority. Read our latest blog to learn the top tips on staying healthy and infection free this fall!
RSVP for RSV Prevention
In the United States alone, approximately 177,000 elderly adults are hospitalized yearly due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), with an estimated 14,000 cases resulting in death. RSV spreads quickly through indirect or direct contact, remaining on contaminated surfaces such as a doorknob for hours. The best methods to ward off RSV mirror those of other seasonal illnesses, and we advise you to employ them year-round.
The power of prevention is not one to be overlooked. Here are some of our top tips for RSV prevention, so you don’t feel blue this flu season:
- Avoid Touching Your Face – Remain mindful and refrain from unnecessarily touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands. Even when you believe your hands to be clean, germs are persistent and hand-to-face contact is one of the most common ways to facilitate infection.
- Cover Coughs and Sneezes – Children and adults should aim to cough and sneeze into a tissue or the inside of their elbow if tissue is unavailable. People often cough or sneeze into their hand(s), exposing every item you touch to contamination. If others, as well as yourself, appropriately cover their coughs and sneezes, you can help minimize the spread of severe respiratory conditions such as COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and whooping cough, to name a few.
- Disinfect Surfaces – Be sure to clean commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices with virus-killing disinfectants. In this scenario, you’re a moth, and these frequently touched objects are the flame drawing your attention. Another good tip is to carry disinfecting wipes on you to help during errands such as grocery shopping, where various individuals are in contact with things such as grocery cart handles.
- Hand Hygiene – Frequent hand washing is an essential step, especially when in contact with someone you believe to be sick. Make sure to do so for a minimum of 20 seconds with lukewarm water and soap. If you cannot wash your hands at that moment, we recommend using an alcohol-based sanitizer containing no less than 60% alcohol.
- Minimize Sharing – Sharing is not necessarily always caring; you should not be drinking out of the same cup or using the same utensils as others. People with RSV are contagious for three to eight days after exposure, some for even longer, meaning your friend or partner may believe they aren’t sick when they are.
- Social Distancing – If you’re sick and have the option to remain home, please do so! This is a massive cause for spreading contagious viruses. However, if staying home is not possible, practice social distancing and stay six feet apart from people in public areas. Also, avoid casual touching and kissing babies and elderly adults, as they are the most susceptible to sickness.
How The Elderly Are Affected
When RSV is present, cold-like symptoms such as coughing, fever, loss of appetite, runny nose, and sneezing arise. Typically, symptoms do not occur all at once but appear gradually in stages. For most, remaining hydrated, fever and pain management with over-the-counter medication, and proper rest relieve the worst symptoms. However, RSV can lead to serious health concerns for more fragile populations such as adults 65 and older. When left untreated, especially in infants and the elderly, severe infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia can occur. In critical cases, a person may even require intubation for additional oxygen to breathe correctly. If after two weeks your symptoms of RSV persist or worsen, please contact your primary doctor immediately.
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