A US Food and Drug Administration panel on Wednesday recommended two vaccines one each by Pfizer and GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) for their use in the United States against preventing Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) illness. 

The recommended vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing the respiratory syncytial virus. The statistics show that Pfizer has a 66.7 % effectiveness in preventing disease whereas GSK's vaccine has 82.6% effectiveness, reported Reuters. 

The FDA decision was reached after many hours of deliberations over the vaccines' safety concerns and their effectiveness against RSV. 

However, the approval for the use of the vaccines will only be done after a final call taken by the FDA advisory committee and after a discussion by an experts' panel, the decision on the FDA vaccine could be made by the month of May. 

What is RSV? 

RSV is defined as a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Once contracted with the RSV virus, the majority of people recover in about a week or two weeks. But RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. 

In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in US children less than one year of age. 

What are RSV symptoms?

RSV-infected people show symptoms such as runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. After the contraction of the virus, the symptoms typically start to show within 4 to 6 days and appear in stages and not all at once. 

In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

What are the preventive measures for RSV?

Even as most RSV patients recover from the illness in a day or two, there are preventive measures that one can take. One can manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to children, as per CDC recommendations. 

To prevent illness, individuals must drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration or loss of body fluids. 

However, one must always speak with their healthcare provider before giving their child nonprescription cold medicines as some of these medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children. 

In the most severe cases, a person may require additional oxygen, or IV fluids, or intubation with mechanical ventilation (a machine to help a person breathe). 

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