Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. It usually starts spreading in the fall and peaks in the winter months. RSV infection can happen at any age; however, it can be more serious in young children and older adults with underlying health conditions such as asthma, chronic heart or lung disease, and those with weakened immune systems.
RSV symptoms usually happen within four to six days after getting infected, and usually include:
Very young infants may only experience irritability, decreased activity, and breathing problems.
Symptoms of RSV are not specific and can overlap with other respiratory infections. People admitted to the hospital may have a nose swab done to confirm the diagnosis.
Most people who get RSV recover on their own. However, RSV can cause severe illness in some people, and medical attention and treatment are needed. Antiviral medication is not routinely recommended to fight infection.
You may manage your symptoms by taking the following steps:
Additional information for parents on how to manage your child’s symptoms and when to seek medical attention, visit the Ministry of Health’s Respiratory Syncytial Virus webpage.
If you have questions about your illness and you don’t start to feel better after a few days or your symptoms get worse, call you health care provider, or 811 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) to talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls to 811 do not need you to provide your OHIP number and all information is free, secure, and confidential.
Like the flu and COVID-19, RSV is typically spread through respiratory droplets when people sick with the virus cough, sneeze, or talk near people who are within 2 meters. Less commonly, a person may also get RSV when they touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
People infected with RSV are usually contagious for three to eight days and may become contagious a day or two before they start showing signs of being sick. 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 four weeks.
You can help stop the spread of RSV by:
The AREXVY vaccine contains an active ingredient that gives our body instructions to make antibodies. Other vaccine ingredients include lipids (fats), salts, sugars, and buffers. AREXVY contains no preservatives. The vial stoppers are not made with natural rubber latex.
People with severe allergies to any of the vaccine ingredients including non-medicinal ingredients, should speak with their physician/allergists about getting the vaccine. Some people with allergies to an ingredient can still be safely vaccinated.
Polysorbate-80 is in the AREXVY vaccine. It is used to hold (or bind) the vaccine ingredients together. Polysorbate-80 can be found in most processed food, sauces, condiments, soups, ice cream, chewing gum, soaps, creams, bath gels, shampoo, body butter, cosmetics, vitamins, heart medication and contraceptives (birth control).
Active ingredient: Each dose (0.5 mL) of AREXVY contains 120 micrograms of RSVPreF3 glycoprotein antigen with the AS01E adjuvant
Non-medicinal ingredients: Each dose (0.5 mL) of AREXVY contains cholesterol, dioleoyl
phosphatidylcholine, dipotassium phosphate, disodium phosphate anhydrous, MPL, polysorbate 80,
potassium dihydrogen phosphate, QS-21, sodium chloride, trehalose dihydrate, and water for injection.
Early evidence from clinical trials has shown that AREXVY is generally well tolerated with the most reported adverse events being injection site pain, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. Common side effects can include redness and swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, and runny nose.