Adults with RSV might have the symptoms of a common cold, such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, mild headache, cough, fever, and a general feeling of being ill. But in premature babies and kids with diseases that affect the lungs, heart, or immune system, RSV infections can lead to other more serious illnesses.

RSV is highly contagious, and spreads through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. It also can live on surfaces (such as countertops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing,canada goose uk so it can easily spread when a person touches something contaminated.

RSV can spread rapidly through schools and childcare centers. Babies often get it when older kids carry the virus home from school and pass it to them. Almost all kids are infected with RSV at least once by the time they’re 2 years old.

RSV infections often happen in epidemics that last from late fall through early spring. Respiratory illness caused by RSV such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia usually lasts about a week, but some cases may last several weeks.

Doctors usually diagnose RSV by taking a medical history and doing a physical exam. In most healthy kids, it’s not necessary to distinguish RSV from a common cold. But if a child has other health conditions, a doctor might want to make a specific diagnosis. Try to wash your hands after having any contact with someone who has cold symptoms. And school age kids who have a cold should be kept away from any younger siblings especially babies until their symptoms pass.

To prevent serious RSV related respiratory disease, at risk infants can get a monthly injection of a medicine with RSV antibodies during peak RSV season (roughly November to April). The protection it gives is short lived, though, so the injections must continue in each RSV season until the child is no longer at high risk for severe RSV infection. Ask the doctor if your child is considered high risk.