PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As temperatures drop and more people head indoors, Oregon is seeing an uptick in respiratory viruses — and not just COVID-19 and the flu.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, has joined the ranks of COVID and the flu this year by sending kids and the immunocompromised to the hospital.
RSV is most common in children under two, but it also targets the immunocompromised. Most cases of RSV can be handled at home, but Dr. Dawn Nolt, a pediatric respiratory disease specialist with Oregon Health and Science University, said there is a number of symptoms to look out for.
“If there’s any signs of respiratory difficulty, coughing, breathing hard, not being able to eat or not having a good urine output, that’s when we want families to take that sick child to see a provider.”
There is a vaccine for RSV that has been studied and given to pregnant people that gives some protection to babies that are born, but that’s not readily available beyond clinical trials.
There’s also talk of a Triad vaccine, something that would protect individuals against RSV, COVID and the flu. Although there are vaccines in the works right now, Dr. Nolt said it would take years of development.
For now, Dr. Nolt said individuals can protect themselves and children in the same way as they have been from COVID over the last couple years.
“Stay up to date on your vaccines, wash your hands, avoid people who are sick and if you are sick – stay away from others,” said Dr. Nolt. “Masking is still a tool to use to prevent the transmission.
Hard to predict what next months will bring us. Despite the viruses changing, we know how to protect ourselves.”
That being said, Dr. Nolt said COVID is still out there and we need to be vigilant against any new variants that might come.