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Helpful Info

What You Should Know about RSV

(Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

You’ve probably heard cases of Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are rapidly increasing in Pennsylvania and nationwide. In fact, levels of RSV are higher than usual for this time of year so families need to know about RSV because some children can get very sick and need hospitalization. 


RSV is a virus which usually causes common cold symptoms in most children and adults. Both children and adults can get it and there’s no vaccination available for RSV. While it usually causes mild illness, it is important to know that younger children are at much higher risk for serious complications requiring urgent treatment and in some cases hospitalization. 

Factors increasing children’s risk for severe RSV infections include:

  • 3 months of age or younger (due to difficulty clearing mucus from smaller airways)

  • Being around other children in a school, child care setting, or at home

  • Living in crowded housing situations

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

  • Children with a history of weakened immune systems, preterm birth, or heart or lung problems

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