Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) | American Lung Association

Location Select your location

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can affect people of all ages. Most people (including infants) usually develop only mild disease similar to that of a common cold, with congestion, runny nose, and cough. But for some, it can be severe and even life-threatening.

Learn About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

In older children and adults, RSV causes mostly upper respiratory symptoms (colds), but it can cause a serious infection in the lungs (bronchiolitis or pneumonia) among infants and adults with serious underlying medical problems.

Learn more

RSV Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

RSV causes a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from very mild to life threatening. The type and severity of symptoms depend on multiple factors, including the particular strain of the virus and whether the patient has other underlying medical problems.

Learn more

Diagnosing and Treating RSV

Mild RSV infections usually affect the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat). The symptoms of a mild RSV infection are the same as the symptoms of a common cold, and testing usually isn't required to diagnose the infection.

Learn more

Managing and Preventing RSV

Most healthy patients are expected to fully recover from RSV. However, it can be severe among the sickest patients. It is extremely important to prevent RSV from spreading to others.

Learn more

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About RSV

Making notes before your visit, as well as taking along a trusted family member or friend, can help you through the first appointment with your doctor about RSV.

Learn more

This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

What is LUNG FORCE?

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.