Fri Sep 24th, 2021
Tests conducted in La Plata County have confirmed the presence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) advises residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as RSV, especially among children.
COVID-19 testing is crucial as we approach the fall and winter seasons, especially if you or your child are experiencing symptoms. A negative COVID-19 test for someone experiencing a high fever or sore throat may indicate the individual has another contagious respiratory infection, such as RSV. Those who suspect illness should seek RSV testing from their healthcare provider.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms in most people. Although most people recover in a week or two, RSV can be dangerous, particularly in infants and the elderly. In the United States, RSV is the most prevalent cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia (lung infection) in children under the age of one. Hundreds of children have already been hospitalized this year in Colorado due to RSV related illness. With the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading, it’s critical to limit the spread of RSV to prevent an additional strain on hospital care. To learn more about RSV, visit the CDC website.
This year, SJBPH anticipates an increase in respiratory illnesses in the community as individuals spend more time out of the house and at gatherings. These illnesses also include whooping cough (pertussis) and the flu (influenza).
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, headache, muscular pains, and exhaustion are all common symptoms of influenza. Infections can range in severity from asymptomatic disease to primary viral pneumonia and death.
Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is another highly contagious respiratory disease. Pertussis is characterized by uncontrollable, severe coughing that makes it difficult to breathe. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but it is more dangerous for babies under the age of one year.
If you’re at risk for a severe respiratory infection or if you interact with an older adult, you should take extra precautions to stay healthy. The following measures help prevent the spread of respiratory infections:
Currently, flu shots are widely available at pharmacies, grocery stores, or your doctor’s office. Young children can get flu vaccines at their doctor’s office or at SJBPH as soon as they are available (pharmacies rarely provide vaccines for children under eight years of age). Check with your pediatrician’s office or SJBPH for when a flu vaccine is available for your child.
Also, talk to your child’s doctor about scheduling routine vaccinations such as MMR, or call SJBPH’s Immunizations Clinic (970-335-2013) if you don’t have a primary care physician.
Find a local COVID-19 vaccine clinic or provider: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/.
For more information about preventable disease, vaccinations, and controlling the spread of disease visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/.