You can now listen to Fox News articles! As the fall season arrives and children return to school, we are once again confronted with the challenge of increased cases of respiratory viruses. A recent alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of rising RSV cases in certain regions of the country.

RSV is not a new foe. It is a common virus that typically causes mild symptoms resembling a cold. However, in recent years, the pattern has shifted, with RSV appearing earlier in the year. Currently, the Southeast is experiencing a rise in RSV cases, indicating the beginning of RSV season, which is likely to spread to other parts of the country in the coming months.

So, what should we know as we enter the fall season?


Knowledge is our first line of defense. Being informed about the rising RSV cases allows individuals and healthcare professionals to detect infections early and educate at-risk populations about necessary precautions.

1. Know the signs of RSV

Common symptoms of RSV include coughing, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, and even a mild fever. While these symptoms may resemble a common cold, RSV can become severe, particularly in vulnerable populations like infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. It is important to seek medical attention if rapid or labored breathing, wheezing, high fever, bluish skin or lips, extreme fatigue, or signs of dehydration are observed. Early intervention is crucial to manage the virus effectively and prevent complications.

2. Protecting the vulnerable

The fall and winter months are times for friends and family to gather, increasing the risk of respiratory viruses. To protect high-risk individuals, it’s important to avoid close contact with those who may not tolerate RSV well, even if you only have mild cold symptoms. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing in public, and stay home when sick to avoid infecting others.

3. Prevention methods

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise can bolster the immune system. Adequate sleep is also crucial for a strong defense against illnesses. Wash hands frequently and consider using a humidifier in your home to keep the air moist, as dry air can facilitate the spread of viruses. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of staying healthy during the cold season while protecting those around you.

An RSV vaccine for adults 60 years and older gained FDA approval in May of this year. The CDC recommends eligible adults add the RSV vaccine to their annual vaccine schedule this fall. While there are no approved vaccines for children yet, monoclonal antibodies can be given to infants under 8 months entering RSV season to provide additional defense against RSV infections.

Currently, supportive care is the primary approach for RSV infections. This includes maintaining proper hydration, using humidifiers to ease respiratory symptoms, and providing supplemental oxygen if necessary. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required, particularly for infants and individuals with underlying health conditions.

Being informed is not a passive act; it is an essential tool in our fight against rising RSV cases. It empowers us to take proactive measures, protect the most vulnerable among us, and contribute to the collective effort to curb the spread of the virus. In the battle against infectious diseases, knowledge is power, and it’s up to each of us to use it wisely for the sake of our communities and loved ones.

Dr. Nicole Saphier, a board-certified radiologist with advanced fellowship training in breast imaging, is a Fox News medical contributor and bestselling author. Follow her on Twitter @NBSaphierMD and Instagram @nicolesaphier_md.


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