So far in 2018 and 2019, the CDC reports there have been between 6.15 and 7.28 million cases of the flu. Up to 83,500 of those cases have led to people ending up in the hospital. While the flu is a concern, there’s another virus making the rounds that people are not as aware of.
For most people, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) feels like a common cold. In seniors and infants, it can be dangerous. Here are five things you should know about RSV. If you suspect your mom or dad has it, seek medical care.
It Spreads Best in Places With Lots of People.
RSV spreads easily in places where there are many people who spend hours together. For younger children, daycares and schools are main concerns. In seniors, a senior center, apartment complex, or adult day program are problems. If your parent spends time in a setting like that, it’s important for them to avoid sick people and sterilize hands regularly.
It Takes Days for Symptoms to Appear.
RSV is spread through the air or contact with the germs on surfaces. You can get it by kissing someone, shaking hands, or being near someone who coughs or sneezes. Once exposed to the virus, you may not have any symptoms for up to six days.
Symptoms May Not Seem Too Troubling.
Most people have symptoms that include a slight fever, nasal congestion, and a very hoarse cough. The cough with RSV resembles the cough that’s present with croup. Things to watch for are wheezing, shortness of breath, and trouble breathing. If your parent has any of those signs, get to a doctor immediately.
Germs Can Live for Hours.
After sneezing into your hands, the germs on your hands can live for more than 30 minutes. In a tissue, they can live for a few hours. On a surface like a door handle or computer terminal buttons, they can live for five hours. If you’re in a public area or shake hands with someone who may be sick, it’s important to wash hands or use a hand sanitizer.
In a severe case of RSV, your parent may need oxygen or breathing treatments to keep oxygen levels up. Humid air can help. Make sure your parent drinks plenty of fluids to help keep mucus flowing out of the sinuses. Hot tea, lemon water, and ginger water will all help with congestion.
If your parent is sick, they need to stay home and rest. Caregivers can help them with daily chores during the recovery. Caregivers can make soup and tea, clean the house, and take care of laundry.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering caregiver services in Huntington, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.
In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.
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