For the first time, hospitals are dealing with three virus outbreaks: Covid-19, the flu and RSV, which can be rough on young children

Louisville-area hospitals “are dealing with a trio of viruses this fall,” reports Dakota Sherek of WDRB. “While fall typically marks the start of flu season, health officials are also dealing with Covid-19 and Respiratory syncytial virus, which can put young children into intensive care.

“Norton Children’s Hospital reported more than 200 RSV cases in early October, and two weeks later another 312 RSV cases were reported across the entire system,” Sherek reports. Baptist Health Floyd, in New Albany, Ind., reported an uptick of flu and RSV cases.

“Most people recover from RSV in a week or so, but the respiratory virus can be serious for infants and older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Sherek notes. “RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children less than a year old.”

“Seeing some RSV in the fall is not totally unusual,” said Dr. Emily Volk of Baptist Health. “The fact that we’ve got kids back at school at a rate we haven’t seen since 2019, before the pandemic, may be playing into this increase in RSV.”

Charlotte Ipsen of Norton Healthcare told Sherek that health-care workers haven’t dealt with a “true combination” of Covid-19, the flu and RSV, so “We’re seeing an already busy hospital even busier.”

“The more people who receive vaccinations, the less of a burden hospitals have to bear,” Sherek notes. “Covid-19 vaccination protects adults against severe illness from the virus, including hospitalizations and death. The CDC reported rates were 12 times higher among adults who were unvaccinated compared to adults who received a booster or additional doses.

“The more people who get the flu vaccine, the Covid-19 bivalent booster, the fewer patients will need to come into the hospital for care,” Volk said. She encourages people who aren’t fully immunized to get vaccinated for protection against a variety of viruses.

“We are seeing signs of polio back in the United States,” Volk said. “These diseases that we thought were gone forever, it turns out they’re not. These immunizations we took for granted, are still very effective and keep you from dying from these diseases.”

Social distancing and masking are also important to help curb the spread of viruses, and when someone doesn’t feel well, they should stay home, health officials told Sherek.

In Lexington, “I think we’re seeing a little bit of an RSV surge right now in kids, Dr. Jeff Fox told WKYT-TV. “I think we’re starting to see the flu. Covid is anybody’s guess, but if the predictions are true, November and December could be a pretty tough couple of months.”

Fox said the viruses are unique, but may not seem like it, since they are all respiratory. “Pay attention to how you’re breathing, if you’re labored at all,” he said. “See if you’re dehydrated. What’s your mental state? And, if all of those factors are getting worse, then go see a doctor.”

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