For Immediate Release
Website: https://www.rowancountync.gov/256/Health-DepartmentFollow Us: www.facebook.com/rowancountyhealth
As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, we all need to be aware that cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and influenza (flu) continue to steadily rise in our community. CDC just recently announced that North Carolina is one of 16 states or major metropolitan areas in the country that is currently seeing the highest level of respiratory-illness activity.
Not everyone who gets RSV, or the flu is hospitalized. One way the CDC measures the impact of respiratory illnesses is by tracking outpatient clinic visits nationwide. At this time, outpatient visits for respiratory illnesses across the country have skyrocketed and are at levels higher than we have seen since 2010.
This spike in respiratory illnesses is mainly due to the necessary and preventative measures that were put in place during the pandemic. As a result, our immune systems have become weaker as we avoided large crowds of people, wore face masks, and have stayed mostly confined to our homes over the last couple of years. Now that these preventative measures have become more lax, respiratory illnesses are being more easily spread.
With emergency rooms becoming full of people who are more fragile and susceptible to illness, Novant Health recently requested that children no longer visit their hospitals at this time in order to help curb the transmission of these respiratory illnesses. This guidance went into effect as of this past Wednesday, November 16, 2022. However, this guidance is only for those visiting the hospital. It is not for children who need medical attention. If you or a loved one is having a significant medical problem, please visit your local emergency department to receive the appropriate care.
With the transmission levels increasing for RSV and the flu, one needs to be aware of what to look for. With RSV, signs and symptoms most commonly appear about four to six days after exposure to the virus. In adults and older children, RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms such as:
In severe cases, RSV infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchiolitis and could include the following symptoms:
Infants, unfortunately, are the ones most severely affected by RSV. Signs and symptoms of severe RSV infection in infants may include:
Most children and adults recover in one to two weeks from RSV; however, some might have repeated wheezing.
*It is important to note that a severe or life-threatening infection with RSV can occur in premature infants or in anyone who has chronic heart or lung problems. If this does occur, it could require the individual to be admitted into the hospital.
The flu can cause a mild to severe illness; and at times, it can even lead to death. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly and can consist of the following symptoms:
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
In closing, please do your part to stop the spread of RSV, the flu, and even COVID-19 by continuing to practice the following preventative measures:
If you or a loved one does become sick with RSV, the flu, and /or COVID-19, please stay at home and follow the recommended isolation guidelines for each illness.
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Download Media Release COVID-19 - November 18, 2022 (PDF)