RSV, COVID-19 and Influenza: Respiratory Triad Prevention & Peaks

As respiratory illness numbers are surging across the United States, the necessity for preventative measures against these viruses can make a significant difference.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that COVID-19 hospitalizations outperform those for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). More emergency care visits are resulting in flu diagnoses. Currently, the CDC is closely monitoring the peak of all three of these respiratory threats to keep people informed and safe. However, it does report that those of us with chronic diseases are at greater risk for hospitalization. Among those hospitalized with the flu, 45% had cardiovascular disease, and 62% had hypertension.
With seasonal diseases rising, it can be hard to identify their differences. 
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)  
RSV is a common respiratory virus. According to the CDC, people with RSV have many symptoms. Typically, RSV symptoms appear about four to six days after the infection occurs. Possible symptoms include:

Runny nose
Decrease in appetite
Coughing
Sneezing
Fever
Wheezing

COVID-19  
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been a topic of interest for the past couple of years. As reported by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, COVID-19 is peaking again due to the rapid emergence of a new variant called JN.1. Although COVID-19 has been known to develop faster than other respiratory viruses, it is still possible to identify the symptoms and get the proper medical care. According to Yale Medicine, symptoms can appear between two and 14 days after exposure. Those who are suffering from COVID-19 may be able to identify with some of the following symptoms:

Fever or chills
Cough
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Fatigue
Muscle or body aches
Headache
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea

In addition to being a global threat to immune systems, COVID-19 is terribly contagious. It is vital to be mindful of this, as spreading the virus can be dangerous for people of all ages.
Influenza (flu) 
The flu is the last addition to the trifecta of viruses, which varies from mild to potentially fatal cases. The flu is notorious for appearing suddenly, and that element of surprise can be devastatingly dangerous. Yale Medicine highlights some of the symptoms to look out for:

Fever
Chills
Cough
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Headaches
Fatigue
 Vomiting
Diarrhea

The symptoms of these viruses can overlap; to be accurately diagnosed, concerned patients should consult their medical professionals for laboratory tests. In addition to getting vaccinated, people can do a few things to protect themselves. Yale Medicine suggests the following:

Strategic masking, wearing well-fitting masks that cover one’s mouth and nose, can prevent the flow of germs.
Utilizing air filters and promoting air circulation by opening windows.
Using household cleaners that can kill bacteria.
Washing one’s hands as needed.

When trying to prevent the onset of respiratory diseases, the quality of being proactive should not be undervalued. Using one’s discernment is a priceless tool, as it is imperative to stay away from people who are sick; close proximity to illnesses can significantly increase the chances of exposure to a respiratory virus.
Vaccines are another source of protection against the viral triad. And are even more important to consider if you have a chronic disease. According to the CDC, the existing COVID-19 vaccines are still effective for the JN.1 variant. RSV and flu vaccines can be helpful as well. Patients can discuss the best options for vaccines with their healthcare providers.
 

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