Saturday, September 23, 2023

Spike in respiratory viruses not just COVID


Hospitals in Chicago and in other parts of the country are reporting a spike in the number of children needing hospital care for respiratory virus infections, NPR reports.

a year of virus seasons

Not all the infections are from coronavirus, either. Most common is RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. The virus normally causes mild cold symptoms, but recently, especially when it interferes with smaller airways in very young children or infants, kids have to be hospitalized to get help with breathing.

In early September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to healthcare providers, stating that “hospitals in several regions of the United States notified the CDC during August 2022 about increases in pediatric hospitalizations in patients with severe respiratory illness who also tested positive for rhinovirus and/or enterovirus.”

As the seasons of several viruses overlap during the winter, the CDC has also issued guidelines for how to prevent the spread of rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, and enteroviruses, especially EV-D68, which has been associated with some more severe conditions.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick and when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Since Covid-19 is still a health risk, NBC-5 Chicago reported that the early rise of the spike in the Chicago area was due mainly to enterovirus and rhinovirus, for which the peak season is winding down, and RSV, which is ramping up with the onset of colder weather. With the colder weather, influenza and Covid-19 infections could also be expected to increase.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.


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