As the world continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, you and your family should remain informed about the threat that COVID-19 continues to pose. Furthermore, health experts are also warning the public of additional illnesses that could be prominent this winter.
In addition to the continuing presence of COVID-19 and the annual threat of influenza (flu), many hospitals across the United States are concerned about potentially high respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.
WHAT IS RSV?
Although RSV may be common, it should not be underestimated. Infections are usually manageable for most adults; however, infants and older adults may be at greater risk. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 58,000 U.S. children under 5 are hospitalized annually due to RSV.
Symptoms of RSV may resemble COVID-19, the flu or the common cold, including fever, runny nose and cough. In serious cases, RSV can lead to severe illnesses, such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
WHY ARE RSV INFECTION RATES HIGHER THIS YEAR?
Health experts are warning of greater RSV risk this year due to many people, especially children, having weaker immune systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due to mask-wearing and social distancing exposing people to less germs. Now, as many health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19 have been lifted, risk of infection has increased.
HOW TO STAY HEALTHY
To reduce your risk of infection this winter, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, don’t interact with sick people and regularly disinfect surfaces. If you are sick, protect others by staying home and properly covering your coughs and sneezes.
Although there are currently no government-approved vaccines for RSV, staying up to date on COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccinations is a crucial step to protecting yourself and your family.