TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, wheezing and a decrease in appetite. With all of the viruses floating around, including COVID-19, it’s hard to know what you have if you are
suffering with what appears to be a cold or flu – so most people go to the pharmacist and get medicine to deal with the symptoms to make them feel better, try to stay hydrated and get as much sleep as they can.

There’s a virus that the Health Department of Northern Michigan is reporting to be on the rise in Michigan and around the rest of the country and it’s RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). It’s not anything new. It’s been around for about 40 years. But cases have increased this year. The virus affects people’s lungs and breathing and can sometimes turn into a severe infection like pneumonia or bronchitis if it gets out of hand.

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Although RSV is highly contagious, it’s rarely deadly and resembles the common cold. Those infected with the virus usually show symptoms within four to six days after they are infected and children under age two are the most vulnerable to RSV in addition to older adults 65-years-old and older and those with weakened immune systems.

Since the virus usually thrives during winter, doctors expect even more cases in the following months as we’re in the
beginning of the respiratory viral season.

According to the CDC, most people have mild, cold-like symptoms and recover in a week or two and don’t need to be hospitalized unless they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated.

RSV prevention is the same as everyone has been doing during the pandemic including covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, avoiding close contact and cleaning frequently touched surface.

To date, there are no RSV vaccines, However, a drug called palivizumab is often used to prevent severe RSV illness in some infants and children at high risk for the disease.

The CDC reports that each year, an estimated 177,000 older adults are hospitalized and 14,000 die in the United States due to an RSV infection.