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Respiratory Illnesses On The Rise

Respiratory illness season is in full effect this year and is earlier than

expected. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Influenza, and COVID-19 are currently

circulating around the state and in Lincoln County, yet again straining the capacity of our

hospitals. Governor Kate Brown issued an emergency declaration in response to a surge of pediatric cases and hospitalizations of respiratory viruses, including RSV, on Monday, Nov. 14,

2022. The governor’s declaration will give hospitals more flexibility to staff beds for

children, draw on a pool of medical volunteer nurses and doctors, and take other steps to

provide care to pediatric patients.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common seasonal respiratory virus that usually

causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be

serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of

bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) in children younger than 1

year of age in the United States. There is currently no vaccine for RSV. You can protect yourself and loved ones by covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often, disinfecting common areas touched often, and staying away from others when you are sick, if possible.

Influenza virus usually comes on suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness. Most

people will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. Some people will develop

complications such as pneumonia (which can be life threatening), sinus and ear

infections, as a result of the flu. COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community. There are currently 300 subvariants circulating, and not one is dominating globally. However, this isn’t stopping the virus from causing waves, hospitalizations or deaths. The convergence of these 3 diseases has important implications.

1. Our hospital systems, particularly pediatric hospitals and emergency departments

are overwhelmed and stressed.

2. It is possible to be infected with two viruses at the same time.

Immunizations are available now for Influenza and COVID-19. Public Health strongly

encourages everyone to receive flu and COVID-19 vaccines now. These vaccines,

including the new bivalent booster, will reduce your risk of serious illness or death.

Visit www.co.lincoln.or.us and click on “Flu Program” under What’s New to find where

vaccinations are available or call public health at 541-265-4112.

Public Health Clinics and most pharmacies provide both flu and COVID vaccines. If you develop cold or flu like symptoms, please get tested for RSV, Flu, and COVID-19. If you do not have a doctor, call 541-265-4947 to contact Lincoln Community Health Center get medical care. Anyone is welcome, whether you have insurance or not.

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