Preventing RSV in Chicago

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common virus that causes cold-like symptoms and affects people of all ages. However, it can be especially dangerous for infants, pregnant women, adults over 60 years old and those with underlying health conditions.

RSV typically begins in the fall and peaks throughout the cold winter months into early spring. To help protect your loved ones from RSV, especially during the holiday season, consider these helpful tips to prevent and limit the spread of RSV.

Symptoms of RSV

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Chest congestion
How does RSV spread?

RSV is transmitted by direct or close contact with those infected or from touching contaminated surfaces. For example, RSV can spread when:

  • An infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • You get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • You have direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV.
  • You touch a surface that has the virus on it, like a doorknob, and then touch your face before washing your hands.
Prevention measures to help reduce the spread of RSV:
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils. i.e. Avoid kissing babies on their mouth.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices.
Prevent RSV and Get Vaccinated.

If you are pregnant, have an infant younger than 8 months, or are an adult over 60 years old, talk to your ACCESS provider about getting vaccinated against RSV.

When To Get Help

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • High fever that lasts longer than 3 days

CDC | Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Immunizations