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Most people with RSV will simply have a runny nose and a cough and don't need to visit a healthcare provider. The virus generally runs its course with the help of home treatments. In fact, in healthy children, it’s often not necessary to find out whether they have RSV or the common cold because the treatment is the same.

But in certain cases—premature infants, children with heart and lung problems, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems—to treat RSV properly, a healthcare provider may need to diagnose the illness. Generally, a healthcare provider can use a nasal swab or nasal wash to diagnose RSV. Sometimes, they use a chest X-ray or oxygen saturation test to check for lung congestion.

Last Updated December 01, 2008