Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. It is so common that most children have been infected with the virus by age 2. Respiratory syncytial virus can also infect adults.
In adults and older, healthy children,RSV symptoms are mild and typically mimic the common cold. Self-care measures are usually all that is needed to relieve any discomfort.
RSV can cause severe infection in some people, including babies 12 months and younger (infants), especially premature infants, older adults, people with heart and lung disease, or anyone with a weak immune system (immunocompromised).
SYMPTOMS OF RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS
Signs and symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus infection most commonly appear about four to six days after exposure to the virus. In adults and older children, RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms. These may include:
- Congested or runny nose
- Dry cough
- Low-grade fever
- Sore throat
In severe cases
RSV infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchiolitis inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lungs. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Severe cough
- Wheezing a high-pitched noise that Is usually heard on breathing out (exhaling)
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing the person may prefer to sit up rather than lie down
- Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
Infants are most severely affected by RSV. Signs and symptoms of severe RSV infection in infants include:
- Short, shallow and rapid breathing
- Struggling to breathe — chest muscles and skin pull inward with each breath
- Poor feeding
- Unusual tiredness (lethargy)
Most children and adults recover in one to two weeks, although some might have repeated wheezing. Severe or life-threatening infection requiring a hospital stay may occur in premature infants or in anyone who has chronic heart or lung problems.
RSV and COVID-19
Because RSV and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are both types of respiratory viruses, some symptoms of RSV and COVID-19 can be similar. In children, COVID-19 often results in mild symptoms such as fever, runny nose and cough. For adults with COVID-19, symptoms may be more severe and may include trouble breathing.
Having RSV may lower immunity and increase the risk of getting COVID-19 — for kids and adults. And these infections may occur together, which can worsen the severity of COVID-19 illness.
CAUSES OF RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS
Respiratory syncytial virus enters the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. It spreads easily through the air on infected respiratory droplets.One can become infected if someone with RSV coughs or sneezes near us. The virus also passes to others through direct contact, such as shaking hands.
The virus can live for hours on hard objects such as countertops, crib rails and toys. Touch mouth, nose or eyes after touching a contaminated object and likely to pick up the virus.
An infected person is most contagious during the first week or so after infection. But in infants and those with weakened immunity, the virus may continue to spread even after symptoms go away, for up to four weeks.
By age 2, most children will have been infected with respiratory syncytial virus, but they can get infected by RSV more than once. Children who attend child care centers or who have siblings who attend school are at a higher risk of exposure and reinfection. RSV season when outbreaks tend to occur is the fall to the end of spring.
People at increased risk of severe or sometimes life-threatening RSV infections include:
- Infants, especially premature infants or babies who are 6 months or younger
- Children who have heart disease tha is present from birth (congenital heart disease) or chronic lung disease
- Children or adults with weakened immune systems from diseases such as cancer or treatment such as chemotherapy
- Children who have neuromuscular disorders, such as muscular dystrophy
- Adults with heart disease or lung disease
- Older adults, especially those age 65 and older
COMPLICATIONS OF RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS
Complications of respiratory syncytial virus include:
- Hospitalization- A severe RSV infection may require a hospital stay so that doctors can monitor and treat breathing problems and give intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Pneumonia-RSV is the most common cause of inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia) or the lungs' airways (bronchiolitis) in infants. These complications can occur when the virus spreads to the lower respiratory tract. Lung inflammation can be quite serious in infants, young children, older adults, immunocompromised individuals, or people with chronic heart or lung disease.
- Middle ear infection- If germs enter the space behind the eardrum, can get a middle ear infection (otitis media). This happens most frequently in babies and young children.
- Asthma- There may be a link between severe RSV in children and the chance of developing asthma later in life.
- Repeated infections.-Once some one had RSV, they could get infected again. It is even possible for it to happen during the same RSV season. However, symptoms usually are not as severe typically it is in the form of a common cold. But they can be serious in older adults or in people with chronic heart or lung disease.
PREVENTION OF RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS
No vaccine exists for respiratory syncytial virus. But these lifestyle habits can help prevent the spread of this infection:
- Wash hands frequently.
- Avoid exposure.
- Keep things clean.
- Don't share drinking glasses with others.
- Don't smoke.
- Wash toys regularly.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) symptoms treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. Some important remedies are given below for Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) symptoms treatment:
Bryonia, Causticum, Pulsatilla, Antimonium tartaricum, Calcarea carbonica, Dulcamara, Hepar sulphuris calcareum, Kali bichromicum, Silicea (also called Silica), Sulphur e.t.c