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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can affect people of all ages. Most people (including infants) usually develop only mild disease similar to that of a common cold, with congestion, runny nose, and cough. But for some, it can be severe and even life-threatening.

Learn About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

In older children and adults, RSV causes mostly upper respiratory symptoms (colds), but it can cause a serious infection in the lungs (bronchiolitis or pneumonia) among infants and adults with serious underlying medical problems.

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RSV Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

RSV causes a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from very mild to life threatening. The type and severity of symptoms depend on multiple factors, including the particular strain of the virus and whether the patient has other underlying medical problems.

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Diagnosing and Treating RSV

Mild RSV infections usually affect the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat). The symptoms of a mild RSV infection are the same as the symptoms of a common cold, and testing usually isn't required to diagnose the infection.

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Managing and Preventing RSV

Most healthy patients are expected to fully recover from RSV. However, it can be severe among the sickest patients. It is extremely important to prevent RSV from spreading to others.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About RSV

Making notes before your visit, as well as taking along a trusted family member or friend, can help you through the first appointment with your doctor about RSV.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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