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Not sure if you have COVID, RSV or the flu? Here’s what to do

It is becoming a triple threat.

With the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) still rampant, a surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) sending more children to the hospital and the flu raging, this cold and flu season is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals, families and overall health. care system.

Experts say this means people need to be extra vigilant when monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild.

The problem is that the symptoms of all three respiratory viruses overlap significantly.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, said:

So what do you do when you feel sick?

Experts say the first step is to rule out COVID-19.

“The best thing people can do at home is a quick test for COVID-19,” Bogotsch said.

Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, found himself in this situation recently when a runny nose hit his family. You might be tempted to dismiss it as a cold, but you still need to be vigilant, he says.

“You want to know your enemy,” said Furness. “The reason I wanted to know is that it’s really easy to spread COVID, and it’s really irresponsible.

A quick test is readily available in most cities, but the printed kit before Omicron doesn’t include instructions, but you’ll need to wipe your throat, cheeks and nose, Furness said. rice field. Studies show that omicron and its subspecies grow faster in the throat than in the nose.

“COVID is the most contagious of the current epidemics, so it’s statistically likely to be COVID.” I think it’s good to believe or worry about having COVID.”

He added that the test should be performed on the fifth day of symptoms and then daily until negative.

Symptoms such as sore throat, fever, and cough can appear with any of the three viruses, so it’s important to pay attention to the severity of symptoms. If you have a bad sore throat and a bad fever, Furness says it’s “very likely” that you have COVID.

But flu epidemiology changes every year, so it could also be a kind of wildcard flu, Furness said. Influenza has increased significantly and rapidly compared to the last two and a half years.

And the flu is nothing to scoff at.

“The flu kills people,” Furness said. “So there’s nothing to deny that. If you just dismiss it as a cold, you don’t need to take measures to protect people around you. I don’t need to quarantine. I don’t need to be tested.” No. I don’t have to do those things, and it puts other people around you at greater risk.”

Furness is most concerned about the pediatric population in particular, as respiratory syncytial virus, a relatively common virus, has led to a surge in hospitalizations among children. It is believed that an “immune naive” population is born.

“Therefore, we have a lot of very young children[ages 0, 1, 2]who get RSV for the first time,” says Furness. “RSV is ugly when it first hits you, and when a tiny little body with an immature immune system gets infected with her RSV, it’s terrifying.”

While it’s common to see children with RSV in the ICU at this time of year, the spread of all three viruses is likely to put additional strain on hospitals, Furness said.

“I am worried because we have little capacity to treat children who are hospitalized right now,” he added. “And the flu sends children to the hospital.”

This is especially worrying as we enter the holiday season, with many feeling COVID-fatigued and less likely to wear masks and social distancing.

“Fatigue is understandable,” said Furness. “You see it everywhere. But what I’m saying is you know what’s worse than fatigue? Get knocked over by COVID.”

“It’s not worth it. When you ask what people who have been sick with COVID for so long are enduring, it’s playing Russian roulette.

The steps to protect yourself are no different than what we’ve heard over the past 30 months. Get a COVID booster, get a flu shot, wear a mask, social distance in an indoor environment, but be aware of the spread of other viruses. This means maintaining hand hygiene and staying home if sick.

“Sometimes people laugh at handwashing because everyone was so focused on COVID,” Bogotsch said. “But remember, we live in a world full of different pathogens, and handwashing helps a whole host of other pathogens out there.”

Bogoch said if you’re having trouble breathing or can’t take care of yourself, like staying hydrated, you should seek medical attention, ideally before you feel helpless.

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Not sure if you have COVID, RSV or the flu? Here’s what to do

Source link Not sure if you have COVID, RSV or the flu? Here’s what to do

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