Over the last 2 years, COVID-19 has been the most prominent respiratory virus posing a threat to our health. More recently, there has been a surge of non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses as well.
- Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a respiratory virus causing mild to severe illness
- Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.
- The current Flu season started early this year causing hospitalization rates higher than those reported for the last 12 years. The CDC estimates there has already been around 100,000 flu hospitalizations this year and between 2,900 – 8,400 deaths.
- Flu hospitalization rates are highest in adults 65 years and older
- The second most at risk group are children younger than 5
- So far this year, the highest levels of flu activity have been in the Southcentral and Southeast regions of the United States
RSV- Respiratory Syncytial Virus
- RSV is a respiratory virus with a similar seasonal occurrence to the flu, starting in the fall and peaking in winter. Typically, the illness is mild, however in small children and older adults, it can lead to severe respiratory disease. It causes mucus build up in the lungs resulting in difficulty breathing.
- Symptoms may include fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, irritability and decrease in appetite.
- This year we have seen an increase in RSV in young children. Children 4 years and younger particularly those less than 1 year of age are at highest risk of hospitalization.
- This year there have been more RSV associated emergency room visits by older children when compared to previous years.
- Luckily, trends show that RSV is beginning to plateau in New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and seems to be decreasing in the South and Southeast
- COVID-19 is a respiratory virus caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which remains a prominent cause of hospitalization in adults in the US
- Symptoms may include fever, chills, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at higher risk of severe disease
How can you protect yourself and your loved ones from these viruses?
- Yearly flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older
- It is especially important for high-risk individuals including children <5 years of age, adults > 50 years of age, pregnant women, individuals with chronic medical conditions, and anyone in close contact to those listed above
- For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm
- There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for RSV
- When treating symptoms be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child non-prescription medications. Most over the counter cold remedies are not recommended in children less than 2 years of age
- The CDC recommends a primary series vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with either the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Novavax vaccine
- It is also recommended that people 5 years and older receive 1 bivalent mRNA booster dose after completion of the primary series
- For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
Other preventative measures
- Avoid people who are sick
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands with soap and water often
- Wear a mask when in highly populated or high-risk areas
- Increase indoor air circulation
For more information, please visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/epic/learn/2022/webinar_20221129.asp
Jodi Arias, PharmD 2023 Candidate