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Ask the Expert - Do Only Babies Get RSV?

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

by Dayna Leavens-Thergesen, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a respiratory illness that affects all ages. It is spread by droplet (cough and nasal secretions) and can live on surfaces, including toys!

In outlying age groups (infants and elderly), or those with certain underlying health conditions such as being born prematurely, having a suppressed immune system, heart disease or lung diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis or asthma, RSV can result in a more severe illness requiring oxygen support and hospital admission.

Most mothers have had RSV and have antibodies that can be passed through breast milk to help prevent the illness in infants and facilitate faster recovery. Treatment is supportive sinus rinses with a bulb syringe, rest, fluids and vaporizer treatment.

However, the best precaution for RSV is prevention with thorough hand washing, staying home when sick, good nutrition, drinking plenty of water and restful sleep so that the body can fight off the virus.

~Dayna Leavens-Thergesen, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN Ruby Valley Medical Clinic


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