Four cases of Respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly just known as RSV, were confirmed at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital in the month of December, according to Lori Riggsby, RN and Director of Service Excellence. RSV can cause upper respiratory infections (such as colds) and lower respiratory infections (such as bronchitis and pneumonia) in both children and adults.
RSV is more typically heard of occurring in children because it will manifest in most adults just as a bad cold and they do not realize they even have the virus. However, it is highly contagious through respiratory droplets to children, who have a much more serious reaction. In small children, RSV can cause bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, as well as pneumonia. Hospitalization is often required for children under six months of age. Almost all children will have an RSV infection by their second birthday.
Illness usually begins four to six days after exposure with a runny nose and decrease in appetite. Coughing, sneezing, and fever typically develop one to three days later. Full recovery normally takes one to two weeks. People with RSV are usually contagious for three to eight days. However, some infants and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for up to four weeks.
There is no specific treatment for RSV, nor any available vaccines. However, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent the spread of RSV. Anyone with cold-like symptoms should always:
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wash hands frequently and correctly
- Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils
- Refrain from kissing others
Pocahontas Memorial Hospital asks that all visitors and patients who have cold-like symptoms to please wear a face mask, located at all entrances of the hospital. If you need to make an appointment to see a provider at our Rural Health Clinic, please call 304-799-6200.
To hear Allegheny Mountain Radio’s interview with Dr. Julie Hare, MD in the Rural Health Clinic, click here.