OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Viruses are spreading like wildfire across the country right now – including one most people associate with young children: respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV.
While RSV is taking its toll on our youngest – it’s also impacting the older population.
“At my age, I’m vulnerable to get sicker faster,” said Vanessa Boniface of Oklahoma City.
She is taking no chances when it comes to her health this season – staying up to date on her vaccines.
“Nobody’s going to tell you if they’re sick or not,” Boniface said.
But right now, there’s currently no approved vaccine for one concerning virus for seniors – RSV.
According to the CDC, tens of thousands of older adults are hospitalized and anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 die from the virus every year.
“Older adults are less nutritionally fit a lot of times – and then they also have a lot more co-morbidities,” said Dr. Jennifer Collins with Valir PACE.
Collins says RSV is spreading here in Oklahoma – adding that it’s a virus that really likes to get you when you’re already down.
Most of the severe cases she’s seen have come in folks who have been battling other viruses previously.
“Most have had COVID or been exposed to COVID, and we don’t know how long that immunity is suppressed following other illnesses,” said Collins.
As with most viruses, Collins says simple steps for preventing the spread are key.
“If you’re feeling ill, have a cold or cough, try to avoid close contact with the people that are most susceptible to have severe illness from RSV, young children, elderly adults and immunocompromised individuals,” she said.
Right now, the CDC says there is no specific treatment for RSV but researchers are working on it.
Pfizer is currently working on an RSV vaccine for older adults but it has yet to receive approval.