Is Having RSV More Than Once Possible

Is Having RSV More Than Once Possible?

In your lifetime, you may contract RSV more than once. In fact, you’re probably going to experience it more than once in your lifetime. Even twice in the same season, RSV is possible. However, later infections typically have a lower severity.

Typically, cases begin in the fall, reach their height in the winter, and continue into the beginning of spring. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic-related precautions in the years before meant that RSV cases weren’t as common. RSV started to spread as soon as the measures were eased.

RSV is the most common reason for hospitalization in infants under 1 year old. Both toddlers and adults typically acquire upper respiratory tract infections from it. Yet, particularly in young children, it can also result in lower respiratory tract infections like bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

You might be asking if, like the flu or COVID-19, you can have RSV more than once given the apparent increase in instances. If so, is it possible to acquire it twice in one season or even one month? Read on to discover more.

Why may you contract RSV more than once?

Your body does not build long-lasting RSV immunity. One of the reasons the virus is so widespread and why you can contract it more than time is because of this.

Reinfection is more prevalent with some viruses because they have numerous genetic strains that shift from year to year, such as influenza. Yet RSV is an exception to this. Although there are various strains, its genetic makeup is generally constant.

Why protection against RSV doesn’t last very long is a mystery to experts. Yet, they believe that the infection itself might affect your immune response. Immunomodulation is the name of this procedure.

RSV is contracted by 90% of people before age 2Trusted Source. Usually, the first infection confers some immunity. Yet, this immunity is only limited and transient. Later in life, you can still catch the virus, albeit it might not have as much of an impact.

In their lifetimes, the majority of people will acquire another RSV infection. A 2016 study found that before the age of three, 35% of kids had had experienced a second infection.

How quickly can you contract RSV again?

Although it is possible to contract RSV twice in one season, it is uncommon. The chance of contracting RSV again after a first infection is around 70%Trusted Source lower within the first 6 months, according to a 2021 assessment of studies.

According to research, your body begins to respond to RSV within 5 to 10 daysTrusted Source. Before it starts to wane, that protection lasts for three to twelve months.

Up to 36%Trusted Source of persons may experience reinfection at least once per season, according to 2019 research.

What signs and symptoms might an RSV infection cause?

Following an RSV infection, some immunity is typically developed. That implies that you won’t likely be as affected by a subsequent infection.

For instance, RSV has a higher propensity to result in a lower respiratory tract infection the first time. Your trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles, as well as the air sacs in your lungs, are all parts of your lower respiratory tract (alveoli).

During their initial RSV infection, about 40% of people get bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the bronchi. You might sporadically get pneumonia, an infection of the alveoli. Yet, each time you contract RSV, your risk of a lower respiratory tract infection declines.

When you contract RSV later in life, you’re still likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections. They have an impact on your voice box, sinuses, throat, nose, and mouth.

signs of RSV RSV symptoms frequently include:

  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of appetite

RSV symptoms typically develop 4 to 6 days after infection and should disappear in 1 to 2 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.

How can I tell whether I have RSV once more (or if my child does)?

RSV is typically identified by a doctor based on your symptoms and medical history. Yet if a reinfection happens within the same season, they might wish to double-check the diagnosis. Any of the following tests can be used to accomplish this dependable source

  • real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), which involves a mouth swab
  • antigen test, which works best for children
  • viral culture
  • blood test

Are certain people more prone to contracting RSV once more?

Everyone can contract RSV again. Yet, some people might be more susceptible to getting sick again. They consist of:

  • infants
  • children
  • pregnant people
  • older adults
  • people with a weakened immune system

How can I avoid contracting the RSV again?

By doing the following, you can aid in preventing any infection (first or subsequent) with RSV and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Cover your sneezes and coughs. Instead of using your hand, use a tissue or your shirt sleeve.
  • Clean counters, doorknobs, and other items that are used frequently, such as cell phones.
  • Take care not to touch your face or eyes.
  • Refrain from sharing items and being in close proximity to those who have RSV.


Your body reacts with an immunological reaction after contracting RSV. Yet it’s not a whole reaction. With time, sometimes within a few months, it starts to fade.

Because of this, the majority of persons contract RSV later in life. By the time they are three years old, more than one-third of people had contracted a second infection. Yet, that limited immunity is still useful. Usually, reinfections are far less dangerous. With a primary infection, complications like bronchiolitis or pneumonia are more probable. You are more likely to experience cold-like symptoms if you contract RSV a second (or third, or fourth) time.

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