What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that affects the lungs and respiratory airways.

While you may not have heard of it, RSV is not a new virus. It is usually mild but can cause serious infection in some people, such as in adults aged 60 or older.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

Symptoms of RSV can range from mild to severe and can last up to 2 weeks.

RSV symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Wheezing

Who is at risk of RSV?

Adults at higher risk for severe RSV infection include adults 60 years of age and older,* adults with chronic heart or lung disease, and adults with weakened immune systems.* There is limited data to assess the risk of severe outcomes due to RSV infection in adults 60-64 years of age.

How does RSV spread?

RSV is contagious and can spread through coughs and sneezes. Infected individuals are contagious for up to 3 to 8 days. However, people with weakened immune systems can remain contagious for as long as 4 weeks — even after there are no visible symptoms.

People can get RSV multiple times throughout their lives. RSV can be serious for older adults.

Be your own health advocate and ask your doctor to learn more about RSV.