RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common, contagious respiratory virus that usually causes mild symptoms. Older adults are more likely to have severe outcomes from RSV because our immune systems typically weaken as we age. Vaccination can help protect against RSV in older adults. If you’re 60 years or older, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to learn more.
THE IMPACT OF RSV
Each year approximately 177,000 adults 65 years and older are hospitalized in the US due to RSV and an estimated 14,000 of those cases result in death. For adults 60 years and older, some data suggest that there is an increased risk for severe RSV infection that can lead to hospitalization.
AND RSV INFECTION
Adults with certain underlying medical conditions, including chronic heart or lung disease, are at an increased risk of developing serious illness.
These medical conditions include:
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or Asthma
Chronic heart failure
RSV can exacerbate these conditions and can lead to severe outcomes such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death.
Symptoms of RSV can range from mild to severe and can last up to 2 weeks. Symptoms include:
THE SPREAD OF
RSV can easily spread when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. Most people are typically contagious for 3-8 days, but people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for as long as 4 weeks—even after they stop showing symptoms.
PREVENTION OF RSV
Typical ways to prevent RSV infection include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who have cold-like symptoms. Typical prevention also includes cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that people frequently touch, such as doorknobs.
If you’re 60 years or older, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about RSV and vaccination.
RSV FACT SHEET
Ready to score a three-pointer? Print the fact sheet below and take it to your next appointment to help start the conversation with your doctor.