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Respiratory Syncytial Virus

What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory disease which usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. The typical RSV season is October through April; peaking in December (COVID pandemic caused a shift in the typical season, but is expected to return to “normal” time frames). It is estimated that 58,000 pediatric (< 5years of age) and 177,000 hospitalizations for older adults (65 and older) occur each year.

How is RSV spread and what are the symptoms?

RSV is spread by contact with respiratory droplets from infected persons (couging/sneezing) or dried respiratory secretions. RSV can be a serious problem for infants and older adults, especially those with chronic medical conditions. Upper respiratory symptoms can manifest within 4 to 6 days after contact with the virus and include:

•Coughing, Runny Nose, Sneezing, Wheezing, Fever, Decrease in Appetite

Lungs and Virus

How can I protect myself from RSV?

There is no specific treatment for RSV (manage fever, pain, hydrate). Most infections resolve on their own, however some infections can become serious and require intervention.

Vaccination may help to prevent infection! RSV vaccines have recently been approved by the FDA (May 2023). These vaccines have been approved to help prevent lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV for individuals 60 years of age and older.

Those most at risk include:

  • age 65 years or older
  • chronic lung disease (COPD, Asthma)
  • chronic heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart failure)
  • Diabetes / chronic renal disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • weakened immune system
  • those living in congregate living centers/nursing home residents

RSV can worsen chronic conditions and lead to severe symptoms/infection.

What kind of side effects can I expect from the RSV vaccination?

Side effects after vaccination can include pain, redness, & swelling at the injection site. You may also experience muscle aches/pain, fatigue, & headache. Most side effects from the vaccination last approximately 48 hours or less.

Individuals that have severe allergies to vaccine ingredients should not receive this immunization.

Will I need a prescription for this vaccine?

Ask your pharmacist; most Lewis Drug locations have an agreement with local providers that allows for individual screening & vaccination at the pharmacy that same day.

What is the cost of the RSV vaccine?

The cost of the vaccine will depend on your insurance. Ask your pharmacist regarding your coverage

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