RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. It’s an illness that most people associate with young children. However, people of any age can get it. And, for older adults, it can be particularly dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are aged 65 and older are at the greatest risk of developing a severe RSV infection. In fact, around 177,000 seniors in the United States end up in the hospital because of RSV each year and 14,000 die. Understanding the illness and knowing its symptoms may help you to get your aging relative help sooner, giving them a better chance of a positive outcome.
General Information About RSV
RSV is an infection that occurs in the lungs and respiratory tract. When the illness is mild, it resembles a cold. It often does not require medical attention and clears up on its own. However, older adults and people with weak immune systems could develop more serious cases.
RSV can be an airborne virus that people contract when the virus enters the body through their nose, mouth, or eyes. Your aging relative can catch it if someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes near them. However, the virus can also be contracted by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching the nose, eyes, or mouth. A person with RSV is at their most infectious during the first couple of days after contracting the virus but can continue to be contagious for a few weeks.
When RSV becomes severe and is not treated, older adults may develop pneumonia. Pneumonia causes inflammation in the lungs and airways, making it difficult to breathe.
When mild, RSV symptoms are like those of the common cold. They include:
- Having a runny or stuffy nose.
- Dry coughing.
- Slight fever.
- Sore throat.
When RSV is more severe, symptoms include:
- Severe cough.
- Trouble breathing.
- A bluish tint to the skin due to lack of oxygen.
If you notice signs of severe RSV infection in your older family member, it is important that you seek medical attention right away to prevent complications like pneumonia.
Senior care providers can watch for signs of RSV in your aging relative and report them to family caregivers. A senior care provider can assist the older adult while they recover from a mild case of RSV by ensuring they drink plenty of liquids and rest. While they are resting a senior care provider can take care of things around the home for them, such as preparing meals, light cleaning, and basic pet care.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in West University, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas
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