Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. RSV can cause severe infection in older adults and adults with heart and lung disease or anyone with a very weak immune system.
Each year, it is estimated that more than 177,000 older adults are hospitalized and 14,000 of them die in the United States due to RSV infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Does your senior parent live alone? If so, it may be hard to identify symptoms of RSV, which include:
- Congested or runny nose
- Dry cough
- Low-grade fever
- Sore throat
- Mild headache
In severe cases, RSV infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Symptoms of severe RSV infection may include:
- Severe cough
- Wheezing – a high-pitched noise that's usually heard on breathing out (exhaling)
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
RSV enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. It spreads easily through the air on infected respiratory droplets. The virus also passes to others through direct contact – such as shaking hands – and can live for hours on hard objects and surfaces, such as countertops. Complications of RSV can be serious and result in:
- A severe RSV infection may require a hospital stay so that doctors can monitor and treat breathing problems and give intravenous (IV) fluids.
- RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis. These complications can occur when the virus spreads to the lower respiratory tract. Lung inflammation can be quite serious in immunocompromised individuals and in people with chronic heart or lung disease.
- Repeated infections. Once you've had RSV, it's common for the infection to come back.
If your senior parent is at high risk for RSV – or if you or your aging loved one interacts with other older adults – take the following precautions to minimize risk: wash hands frequently, avoid exposure to others who may have RSV, keep things clean (ensure that kitchen and bathroom countertops are clean, and discard used tissues right away), don’t share drinking glasses or food with others, and don’t smoke.
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can help assist your loved one if they have – or are at risk for – RSV. SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home caregivers are trained to provide compassionate, quality care and are trained to ensure that your senior parent lives safely and comfortably with any illness or health complication. Aside from providing transportation to-and-from physician and doctor’s appointments, our in-home caregivers can provide RSV care relief to your senior parent, which may include:
- Creating moist air for your senior parent to breathe. If the air is dry, a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer can moisten the air and help ease congestion and coughing.
- Helping your senior parent drink fluids. Warm fluids, such as soup, may help loosen thickened secretions. Ice pops may be soothing as well.
- Helping your senior parent manage over-the-counter medicine and saline nasal drops. Over-the-counter (OTC) drops are a safe, effective way to ease congestion. OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) may help reduce fever and relieve a sore throat.
In addition, SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers can also provide a variety of in-home care needs, which include:
- Assistance with menu planning
- Mealtime feeding assistance
- Assistance with and/or complete meal preparation and cleanup
- Standby assistance with morning and evening routines
- Transfer assistance
- Bathing and showering assistance
- Help with restroom use
- Assistance with dressing
- Personal appearance care
- Incontinence care assistance with light gardening
- Kitchen cleaning and organization
- Bathroom cleaning and organization
- Laundry and ironing
- Changing linens
- Friendly and supportive conversation
- Friendly companionship
- Light exercise encouragement
If your senior parent needs assistance with achieving health, safety, and independence, call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills and provide your aging parent with an in-home caregiver companion today.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected]