Preventing and treating RSV in New York this season

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that primarily affects children and older or immune-compromised adults in the fall and winter months, typically from October to the end of March. But in November 2022, there was a massive surge of RSV in New York beyond what is typical for most years. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are monitoring the 2023 RSV cases in New York, which seem to be increasing again. Now is the time to speak to your healthcare provider about getting an RSV vaccine for your child or older family member. 

How to prevent RSV

RSV is a common viral infection that causes upper and lower respiratory symptoms, such as cough, fever, runny nose, and wheezing. It typically affects children under two exposed to the virus at school or daycare. Older adults may become infected with RSV through contact with another infected individual. 

While you can’t always prevent contracting a respiratory illness, there are a few things you can do to lower the risk for your child and older family members. 

RSV and flu vaccinations

Now, three types of vaccinations are available for RSV: one for older adults and two for infants and children under 19 months old. It is also recommended that you stay up-to-date on other vaccines such as the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine. 

Speak to your healthcare provider about which vaccines are recommended for your family to keep them safe this RSV season in New York. 

Practice good hygiene

Practicing good hygiene can lower the risk of catching a respiratory illness. Frequent handwashing and avoiding touching your eyes, mouth, and nose are great ways to reduce your risk. Hygiene should also include keeping others safe by covering your cough or sneeze with your elbow or upper arm.

Social distance

If you are at risk for complications from RSV or have a newborn at home, you may want to consider avoiding spaces with large crowds or big groups of people, which can help lower your risk of contracting RSV or other viral infections.

Wear a mask in public

Older adults or those who are immune compromised should consider wearing a mask in public due to the rising cases of RSV in New York City. However, children under two years old should not wear masks. 


Improving ventilation in your home can help lower the risk of spreading viral respiratory illnesses during cold and flu season. This may mean filtering the air, getting fresh air into your home, or improving the airflow. 

RSV treatment in New York

If you believe you have RSV or another respiratory virus, our urgent care centers are here to help evaluate your symptoms and get the treatment you need. You can also do a few things at home to help yourself feel better.

At-home management

If you or your child are recovering at home with RSV, make sure to get plenty of rest and fluids. Try a humidifier or a steamy shower to help clear up some congestion. If your child is over one year old, you can give them a teaspoon of honey to help soothe a cough.


Over-the-counter cold and flu medications can help you feel better when you have a respiratory virus. Fever reducers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help. Ask your healthcare provider about the right dose of these medications for your child. 


Staying well-hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent complications from any viral illness. While any type of fluid helps, warm tea with honey may feel particularly soothing. 

If your child has RSV, encourage them to drink small sips of water, milk, or diluted juice as often as possible. If your infant is nursing or only consuming formula, speak to your doctor about an appropriate feeding schedule. Do not give an infant water or other fluids unless directed by your healthcare provider. 

When to visit a New York urgent care facility

If you believe you or your child have RSV, the flu, or COVID-19, our urgent care centers in New York are here to help. Visit us for vaccinations to help lower your risk of respiratory illnesses or testing if you are experiencing symptoms. Someone can have RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 at the same time.

Our caring providers can help test and evaluate symptoms to determine the best course of action for you or your loved ones. To get started, find the center nearest you and walk in or save your spot online. We are here to help you feel better soon!

Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care locations

With over 59 facilities across the New York area—including Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, Yorktown Heights, and Staten Island—we ensure there's always an urgent care center nearby.

Track RSV cases in New York

To stay informed about RSV cases in New York, visit the CDC website for the latest statistics, and help you make decisions to keep your family healthy this winter.



Written By Sarah ThebargePhysician Assistant on February 13th, 2024

Medically reviewed by J.D Zipkin, MD, MA, FAAP