Trifecta of viruses hitting county residents
RSV, flu and COVID-19 are a trifecta of viruses this fall, and Marion County is seeing all three in its doctors’ offices.
RSV — respiratory syncytial virus — is not a reportable disease with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which means the county doesn’t track it, health department director Krista Schneider said.
“I spoke with the laboratory managers at both St. Luke Hospital and Hillsboro Community Hospital,” she said. “Combined, they reported seven total RSV positive cases over the last month, so we are seeing RSV in Marion County.”
RSV is transmissible to both adults and children, but it can be more severe for infants, young children, and older adults, she said.
People with RSV usually show symptoms within four to six days after getting infected, according to Centers for Disease Control.
Symptoms of RSV usually include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing, the CDC says.
For infants, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.
The CDC recommends that RSV patients:
- Manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Never give aspirin to children.)
- Drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
The CDC recommends that parents and caregivers talk to a health care provider before giving a child nonprescription cold medicines. Some ingredients are not good for children.
COVID-19 and flu have overlapping symptoms, including:
- fever or feeling feverish and having chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- fatigue (tiredness)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle pain or body aches
- diarrhea (more frequent in children with flu, but can occur in any age with COVID-19)
- Change in or loss of taste or smell — more frequent with COVID-19
The county health department has administered 579 flu vaccines this season and 447 bivalent COVID-19 vaccines since Sept. 19, Schneider said.
Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines include a component of the original virus strain and a component of the omicron variant.
The department offered walk-in clinics in each community in October and continues to offer flu and bivalent COVID-19 vaccines by appointment. Vaccine appointments are available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.