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What is RSV? Is it the same as Covid?

The Flu, RSV, and covid-19 are all circulating and present with similar symptoms. Who did each of the diseases affect most? How do they all differ?

The Flu, RSV, and covid-19 are all circulating and present with similar symptoms. Who did each of the diseases affect most? How do they all differ?

Flu season is among us and combined with covid-19, and RSV there is much confusion with many symptoms being shared among the three diseases. With similar symptoms, especially in young children, it can be difficult to determine which it is.

If you believe that you or someone in your proximity may have covid-19 or one of these diseases, it is best to get in contact with a health care professional for proper testing and diagnosis.

What is RSV?

RSV or respiratory syncytial virus is similar to the common cold and can infect children and adults. The highlight contagious virus can appear more severe in infants and elderly people. Those with RSV tend to be sick between one to two weeks. The disease should be taken seriously as it can lead to more dangerous illnesses in adults and children including "bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age."

According to Lab Corp some of the symptoms include:

What are the symptoms of RSV?

  • Fevers
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Muscle soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Most people who become ill with RSV do not experience a severe case but some people "especially older adults and infants younger than 6 months of age, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated."

How does RSV differ from covid-19?

 RVP is much more common in infants in children. This age group as well as the elderly are often the most susceptible to RSV. With covid, the elderly are the most at risk, but children tend to recover quickly from the virus if they experience any symptoms at all. 

With regard to symptoms, one of the main differences between the two diseases is that those with covid-19 may lose their sense of taste or smell. 

What can you do to treat RSV?

To manage symptoms associated with the virus, the CDC recommends first talking with a "healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children." Some options also can include taking "over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Never give aspirin to children.)" and keeping hydrated.

How do you test for each of the viruses?

Some doctors will offer you a three-in-one test for covid-19, the Flu, and RSV. This is the easiest way to find out if which you may have.


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