How are you feeling?
If you’re like many Westporters: not great.
A “tripledemic” — COVID, RSV and flu — has slammed our town, and many others.
The other day, Concierge Physicians of Westport sent this information (from the Centers for Disease Control) to patients.
Chuck Greenlee thought the rest of us non-concierge patients should see it too. CPW graciously agreed. Here you go:
What is RSV?
Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in 1-2 weeks, but RSV can be serious, especially in infants and older adults.
It can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, when you have direct contact with a person who has the virus, such as kissing a baby, or when you touch a surface with the virus on it and then touch your face before washing your hands. People with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days, and can become contagious 2 to 3 days before having symptoms.
Diagnosis: The most common is the rapid diagnostic test. This test looks for RSV RNA in nasal secretions. The results are usually available in 1 hour.
Treatment: Supportive. There are no specific antivirals
Prevention: There are no vaccines against RSV
What is Influenza?
Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death, even in healthy children and adults. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, runny nose, body and muscle aches, cough, and less commonly nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
It spreads similarly to RSV.
Diagnosis: Rapid diagnostic tests are becoming the gold standard. Performed by swabbing nasopharyngeal or throat secretions results are available in 15-30 minutes.
Treatment: Specific antiviral flu drugs can decrease the risk of serious complications, hospitalization and death and also shorten the duration of symptoms. Antivirals work best when given within 48 hours of when symptoms appear.
Prevention: The best way to prevent flu is to receive a vaccination every year. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated annually. The best time to get vaccinated is in the fall, before influenza viruses begin spreading in your community. However, vaccination throughout the flu season is still beneficial.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a viral disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. For people who have symptoms, illness can range from mild to severe. Adults 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.
The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Diagnosis: Three main types of tests confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis:
NAATs (such as PCR based tests) are most often performed in a laboratory or clinic setting. They are typically the most reliable tests for people with or without symptoms.
Antigen tests produce results in 15-30 minutes. They are less reliable than NAATs, especially for people who do not have symptoms. To best detect infection, a negative antigen test should be repeated at least 48 hours apart.
Self (or “at-home” tests) are usually antigen tests that can be taken anywhere without having to go to a testing site. Follow FDA and manufacturer’s instructions, including the number of times you may need to test.
Treatment: Depends on the severity of infection and is constantly evolving. There are antiviral drugs for COVID-19.
Prevention: People ages 5 years and older should complete the COVID-19 primary series vaccines and boosters (including mix and match shots) to prevent getting and spreading the illness.
How can I stay healthy?
Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you need to be around a sick individual, wear a well fitting mask (N95 or surgical) and make sure to cover your mouth and nose.
Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand rub that contains 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
VACCINATE yourself against influenza and COVID.
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