It’s that time of year again, and RSV is surging. You’ve probably heard all about it on Facebook, where many parents share posts reminding you not to kiss their babies this holiday season. But what really is RSV, and why is it dangerous?
Respiratory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, rears its ugly head every winter, and thankfully, most people will only experience mild (but annoying) cold symptoms. But RSV gets serious when it infects infants and older adults. Here’s what you need to know about RSV transmission and how to keep your family healthy.
Most people who catch RSV will probably just write it off as a common cold, but it’s important to know the difference, especially if you have small children or immunocompromised adults in your life. While the symptoms overlap with several other seasonal illnesses, you should take extra precautions if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Decreased appetite
In more serious cases, RSV can cause difficulty breathing and bluish skin due to lack of oxygen. Elder adults may also experience worsening of COPD, asthma, and congestive heart failure.
Someone that’s sick with RSV is likely contagious for two days before they begin showing symptoms, and can remain contagious for as long as eight days, so it’s important to be mindful of common transmission pathways.
As RSV patients cough and sneeze, they expel droplets from the nose and throat that spread the virus to other people and onto surfaces. If you inhale droplets, get them in your eyes or nose, or touch a surface contaminated with RSV droplets, you will likely also contract RSV.
RSV is most easily transmitted by infants, who may remain contagious for up to four weeks — even when they no longer show symptoms. That’s why RSV can run rampant in daycares and schools.
What’s at Risk?
At Global Ozone, we aim to sanitize gear for athletes, police, military, firefighters, and other first responders — and to protect their families from the germs they often bring home.
Student athletes likely live with younger siblings or in multi-generational households with grandparents who could be susceptible to the worst of RSV. Of course, police, firefighters, and other first responders also have small children and elder family members at home, too. Unfortunately, locker and equipment rooms provide breeding grounds for RSV to spread like wildfire.
While your average athlete, law enforcement officer, or soldier will quickly bounce back from RSV, their vulnerable family members may not. Infants and elder adults often have weaker immune systems and can become seriously ill and even require hospitalization as a result of RSV. That’s why RSV is the second leading cause of death for infants under a year old.
How to Prevent RSV
No one wants a pesky cough, nor do they want to potentially give RSV to vulnerable people. Here are a few precautions you can take to stop the spread of RSV.
We can’t overstate the importance of washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. RSV droplets can live on skin and spread to every surface you touch from there. Every time you cough or sneeze, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent spreading RSV to doorknobs, shared equipment, and other common surfaces around you.
You’ve likely also heard not to kiss babies (no matter how cute they are) to prevent transmission. As we mentioned, infants can infect you with RSV even if you aren’t showing symptoms. Worse, you could pass RSV on to an infant, resulting in a serious illness.
But remember — those RSV-spreading droplets can live on surfaces for several hours. In order to reduce your risk of spreading RSV, you’ll need to be vigilant about sanitizing both hard surfaces and fabrics.
Global Ozone Can Help
We’re dedicated to keeping your family safe this winter — and preventing annoying sniffles and lingering coughs.
Our Sports-O-Zone and Decon Zone sanitizing systems effectively kill RSV living on hard surfaces and fabrics — like shared gear, locker rooms, and gym equipment. The highly effective sanitizing chambers unleash ozone to completely sanitize your gear, killing everything from RSV to MRSA in just 32 minutes.
We want to make it easy for you to protect your team or unit and their families. Reach out to us to see which of our sanitizing solutions best suits your needs.