If you thought Covid-19 was the only disease that Tennesse would have to face this year, I have bad news. The CDC warned that a disease is currently spreading across Tennesse and several other states. And for infants and senior citizens, it can be deadly.
It's called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and leads to approximately 58,000 hospitalizations with 100-500 deaths among children younger than 5 years old and 177,000 hospitalizations with 14,000 deaths among adults aged 65 years or older. In the statement, the CDC mentioned a list of symptoms that you should watch out for:
"Due to reduced circulation of RSV during the winter months of 2020–2021, older infants and toddlers might now be at increased risk of severe RSV-associated illness since they have likely not had typical levels of exposure to RSV during the past 15 months. In infants younger than six months, RSV infection may result in symptoms of irritability, poor feeding, lethargy, and/or apnea with or without fever. In older infants and young children, rhinorrhea and decreased appetite may appear one to three days before cough, often followed by sneezing, fever, and sometimes wheezing. Symptoms in adults are typically consistent with upper respiratory tract infections, including rhinorrhea, pharyngitis, cough, headache, fatigue, and fever."
Despite the fact that RSV is a seasonal virus that peaks in the winter, health professionals are concerned about an increase in hospitalizations during the Covid pandemic. After all, people in Tennessee are interacting with each other far more than they were last year.
Children younger than 6 months of age with RSV infection may need to be hospitalized. Those hospitalized may require oxygen, intubation, and/or mechanical ventilation (help with breathing). However, it's important to remember that most improve with this type of supportive care and are discharged in a few days.
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