RSV cases increasing in Okeechobee County

Posted 12/6/23

Okeechobee County reported an increase in cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)   the first week in December ...

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RSV cases increasing in Okeechobee County

The Florida Department of Health update for the seven day period ending Dec. 2, showed cases of RSV increasing in Okeechobee, Glades and Martin Counties.
The Florida Department of Health update for the seven day period ending Dec. 2, showed cases of RSV increasing in Okeechobee, Glades and Martin Counties.
Florida Department of Health

Okeechobee County had increase in cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)  this month, according to the Florida Department of Health.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Young children and older adults, especially those with certain underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for severe illness from RSV.

Florida’s RSV season is longer than the rest of the nation and has distinct regional patterns.

In 2023, two vaccines (Arexvy and Abrysvo) and a monoclonal antibody (nirsevimab) were approved for the prevention of RSV related illness. FDOH recommends individuals consult with their health care providers to find out if vaccination is recommended for them,

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within four to six days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include:

  • Runny nose,
  • Decrease in appetite,
  • Coughing,
  • Sneezing,
  • Fever,
  • Wheezing.

 Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. However, RSV can cause severe illness in some people.

Take steps to relieve symptoms:

  • Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Never give aspirin to children.)
  • Drink enough fluids. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Some medicines contain ingredients that are not good for children.

According to the CDC, RSV can spread in these ways:

  • An infected person coughs or sneezes;
  • You get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • You have direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV; or,
  • You touch a surface that has the virus on it, like a doorknob, and then touch your face before washing your hands.

People are typically infected with RSV for the first time as an infant or toddler and nearly all children are infected before their second birthday. However, repeat infections may occur throughout life, and people of any age can be infected.

People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days and may become contagious a day or two before they start showing signs of illness. However, some infants, and people with weakened immune systems, can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks. Children are often exposed to and infected with RSV outside the home, such as in school or childcare centers. They can then transmit the virus to other members of the family.

RSV can survive for many hours on hard surfaces such as tables and crib rails. It typically lives on soft surfaces such as tissues and hands for shorter amounts of time.

You can take everyday prevention measures to help reduce the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses.

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others, such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices.
  • RSV can also cause more severe infections such as bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age.
  • Healthy adults and infants infected with RSV do not usually need to be hospitalized. But some people with RSV infection, especially older adults and infants younger than 6 months of age, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated. In the most severe cases, a person may require additional oxygen, or IV fluids (if they can’t eat or drink enough), or intubation (have a breathing tube inserted through the mouth and down to the airway) with mechanical ventilation (a machine to help a person breathe). In most of these cases, hospitalization only lasts a few days.

Information for this article came from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

RSV, cough, runny nose, Okeechobee