• Jefferson Weaver

Flu, RSV Cases Rising; COVID Steady

Going into Thanksgiving, the rules are same as they have been since 2020: wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home if you’re sick.

Columbus Regional is seeing a rise in Type A flu and Respiratory Synchtial Virus (RSV) patients.

COVID-19, however, is steadily dropping in the county, with only five cases reported to the county Health Department as of Nov. 12. One of those cases was a reinfection. The last COVID-related death here was in September, according to state health officials.

RSV is a common airborne virus that causes infections and inflammation of the respiratory system, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is similar to the common cold, and has symptoms such as fewer, body aches, runny nose, loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing and wheezing. RSV generally strikes infants under two who have not had vaccinations, but variants of the virus are affecting patients of all ages.

Flu and the highly contagious RSV are increasing in area medical practices and the CRHS Emergency Department. RSV spreads especially quickly through children, and has contributed to a number of absences in area schools this fall.

“If you are sick, please stay home,” said Stephanie Miller of CRHS.

The hospital is still requiring visitors to wear masks, as was the standard during the worst of the pandemic. Loosening state and federal regulations as well as the sunset of some federal COVID mandates have not lessened the hospital’s safety protocols.

“We are still using the same PPE and hand hygiene we’ve been using during the COVID pandemic,” Miller said. “It’s a federal mandate for all who enter a hospital to wear a mask. Therefore, all visitors are required to wear a mask as well.”

Simple steps can prevent the spread of any of the “big three” conditions, Miller said. Anyone infected with either of the bothersome bugs should stay home at least one day after symptoms subside.

“If you are sick, please stay home,” Miller said. “Do not take a fever-reducing medication for your fever and then proceed to your loved one’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. The rule of thumb is 24 hours fever free, without the use of any fever-reducing medications.”

RSV has proven especially contagious among children, and the virus can easily be spread in the close confines of a classroom or schoolbus. While RSV doesn’t always lead to hospitalization, it can affect some children worse than others.

“Please do not send your child to school if they are sick,” Miller said. “Do not give them a fever-reducing medication and send them to school. Of course, they are going to feel better once the medication kicks in, but once it wears off, the fever could likely return. This is why the 24 hour rule is so important.”

The same rules apply for grownups, Millker said.

“Do not take a fever-reducing medication for your fever and then proceed to your loved one’s house for Thanksgiving dinner,” she said.

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