According to NJ.com, “…Kids are pouring in, coughing and wheezing and conjested. First it was enterovirus and rhinovirus. Now RSV has become the dominant infection, with flu cases also growing.” To further support this analysis, CNN Health posted an article titled, “An ‘unprecedented’ rise in respiratory viruses in children is overwhelming some hospitals.” The article states that hospitals are seeing a rise of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is a common cold virus and the cases are rising in many US regions. There is a big possibility, according to health officials, of a possible “tripledemic.” According to patch.com, “Respiratory syncytial virus is surging early across the nation. Its peak could coincide with the seasonal peaks of the flu and COVID-19.” On nextdoorneighbor, only 2 weeks ago, LCCS reported 193 cases of respiratory viruses in one day amongst staff and students. LCCS has been taking careful procedures however. Parents on nextdoor commented under the post that they are sending kids home quite frequently. In fact, LCCS sent an email to parents stating that the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services visited the school and is planning to take further precautions to ensure the school’s safety.
Illnesses spreading right now:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
More than COVID-19
Although COVID-19 is a major illness to watch out for, lately children in the U.S. have been coming to the hospital with respiratory viruses. While COVID-19 took the headlines in the past, this year respiratory viruses have been more common in children. Typically, respiratory viruses often start in November and end around late March. However, this year the cases have surged as early as October.
Was this unexpected?
This wasn’t entirely unexpected, as some countries like Australia, have experienced a severe and earlier flu season this year. (You can read more into this here: CDC Reports Early Increases in Seasonal Flu Activity)
What should you do?
- Avoid close contact
- Drink enough fluids because it prevents sickness. It is also important for people with RSV infection to drink water to prevent a loss of body fluids.
- Cover your mouth and nose
- Clean your hands/wash well when necessary
- Wear a mask to school if your classmates seem sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Find out about plans your child’s school has if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
- Note that RSV is very contagious so if you feel sick or slightly ill, it’s better to keep your child at home.
(The list is based on cdc.gov)
Allergies or RSV?
Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you should keep your kid at home or not, especially if their symptoms are really minor. It could be allergies, so how can you tell whether your symptoms are the beginning of RSV? Something that makes it difficult to differentiate is that both cause nasal congestion. However, unlike seasonal allergies, RSV symptoms may include a slight cough, a low-grade fever, and a decrease in appetite. If you are further into having RSV, you will feel it rech down into the “lower respiratory tract (bronchial tubes and lungs. A sign that the infection is worsening is when symptoms get more severe (coughing turning into wheezing, for example).” (How is RSV transmitted?)
More symptoms of RSV include:
- Short, shallow and rapid breathing
- Struggling to breathe (chest muscles and skin pull inward with each breath)
- Unusual tiredness
- A runny nose