Three Respiratory Viruses to Consider This Season

Three Respiratory Viruses to Consider This Season

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COVID-19 is not done with us yet; we must stay aware. As congregations of faith, we are committed to caring for one another. Being informed and willing to resume masking and social distancing if warranted promotes wellbeing for all people.

Officials are warning that there will likely be a surge of COVID infection this winter as new subvariant strains are being identified. “Hospitals and health systems nationwide are already preparing for a potential "twindemic." On Sept. 29, leaders from 10 health systems and hospital associations met with federal health officials to discuss mitigation strategies ahead of a likely COVID-19 surge and severe flu season.”  One indicator of a potential surge is wastewater surveillance in Northeastern states that indicates rising levels of virus. “As of Oct. 3, the amount of virus in Boston's wastewater had increased 99.9 percent in the last two weeks, according to city data cited by boston.com.” (Becker’s Hospital Review, October 10, 2022
 
According to CDC COVID Data Tracker  CT, MA and RI have medium level transmission risk as of October 13, 2022. Recommendations at this level include staying up to date with COVID vaccinations, get tested if you do not feel well , maintaining ventilation, and isolating  for at least 5 days if you test positive. If you are at high risk for severe illness wear a high-quality mask when you are around others.
 
Flu season 2022/23  has started early  and doctors are expecting a higher than normal incidence of flu according to this CNN article on October 14, 2022. Due to the previous fall pandemic seasons, where most people wore masks, levels of the flu have been very low. Now that many have stopped masking and we are gathering more often, the flu viruses are spreading more easily. This makes getting your flu shot even more important! If you have not had your updated COVID booster or your flu shot, you can get both vaccines at the same time.
 
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), another respiratory illness, is typically like the common cold. However, some infants, children, and older adults may have severe illness. Symptoms include runny nose, decreased appetite, cough, sneezing and wheezing, fever. While the infection usually resolves in 1- 2 weeks, some infants and young children will develop difficulty breathing and require hospitalization. If your child has trouble breathing, poor fluid intake, or appears to be getting worse, contact your healthcare provider.
 
Hospitals in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are reporting an early rise in hospitalizations due to RSV, reports NBC News (Oct. 14, 2022). Pediatric ICU beds are filling up and some patients have to be transferred to facilities far from their home to get ICU care. You can help prevent the spread of RSV with the simple infection prevention strategies including covering your cough and sneezes, frequent handwashing, avoiding close contact, and cleaning surfaces such as doorknobs frequently.


Prevent Illness

  • Handwashing reduces virus transmission. Watch Dr. Will’s Coronavirus Prevention Tips Video  with kids.
  • Get your flu shot annually.
  • Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters People ages 5 years and older  should receive one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was their final primary series dose, or an original (monovalent) booster.
  • People who have gotten more than one original (monovalent) booster are also advised to get an updated (bivalent) booster. 
Image by Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus from Pixabay

Author

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Debbie Ringen

Debbie Ringen supports the Conference vision to make God’s love and justice real through wellness ministry at the Conference and local church level. In addition to providing resources, educational workshops, blogs and networking opportunities, she is...

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