Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that causes respiratory infections in children and adults. RSV can affect the nose, throat, lungs, and sometimes the ears. RSV is highly contagious and can spread through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with infected secretions.
Most people recover from RSV infection in one to two weeks, but some people may develop serious complications, such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lungs) or pneumonia (infection of the lungs). These complications can be life-threatening, especially for infants, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, RSV is the most common cause of hospitalization for respiratory infections in children under two years of age in BC. In 2019, there were 1,671 hospitalizations and 10 deaths due to RSV in BC. RSV season usually occurs from November to April in BC, but it can vary depending on the year and the region.
How to treat RSV?
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for RSV infection. The best way to prevent RSV infection is to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently, covering your cough or sneeze, and avoiding sharing utensils or cups with others. You should also avoid contact with people who have symptoms of RSV infection, such as fever, cough, runny nose, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.
If you or your child have symptoms of RSV infection, you should see your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible. They may prescribe medications to help relieve your symptoms and prevent complications. You should also drink plenty of fluids, rest, and use a humidifier or saline nasal spray to ease congestion.
If you or your child have severe symptoms of RSV infection, such as trouble breathing, fast breathing, bluish skin color, dehydration, or lethargy, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately. You may need oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, or mechanical ventilation to help you breathe.
How do TB Vets help?
TB Vets Charitable Foundation is a leading supporter of respiratory care in BC. Since 1946, we have provided critical respiratory equipment, research, and education to help patients with respiratory emergencies and illnesses. TB Vets has funded ventilators, nebulizers, pulse oximeters, and other devices that are essential for treating RSV infection and its complications.
We also sponsor ground-breaking research on RSV and other respiratory viruses at Vancouver General Hospital / University of British Columbia (VGH / UBC) and Royal Columbian Hospital / Simon Fraser University (RCH / SFU). These research projects aim to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of RSV infection and its impact on lung health.
TB Vets relies on the generous donations of its supporters to continue its mission of arming BC’s frontline medical heroes with the tools they need to save lives. You can help TB Vets by donating online clicking here
RSV infection is a serious health threat that affects thousands of British Columbians every year. By supporting TB Vets Charitable Foundation, you can help make a difference in the lives of those who suffer from respiratory emergencies and illnesses. Thank you for your generosity and compassion.