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Higher Numbers Of RSV, COVID Impacting Upper Cumberland

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Higher Numbers Of RSV, COVID Impacting Upper Cumberland

If you feel like a lot of people are sick right now, you are right; a Cookeville Regional expert said the Upper Cumberland is dealing with elevated numbers of seasonal respiratory viruses.

CRMC Infection Prevention Manager Stephanie Etter said COVID-19, flu, and RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, are the three major illnesses impacting the region. Etter said with the holidays coming up, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

“I think typically, you know, this time of year, people gather indoors more,” Etter said. “So when you have large groups of people gathering together indoors, they’re hugging, maybe they haven’t seen each other in a while, viruses can spread very easily that way.”

Etter said RSV has been the most prominent illness this year, and she expects to see the flu spike at the start of January. Etter said vaccinations and hand-washing are the keys to defending yourself from infections.

“The best way to protect yourself from RSV, flu, and Covid is to get vaccinated as soon as those vaccines become available,” Etter said. “It takes our bodies about two weeks to build antibodies against the organism that we are getting vaccinated against.”

Etter also stressed the importance of staying home when sick to avoid passing viruses to others. While she hopes that RSV has already reached its peak this year, Etter said it can be very easy to pass.

Etter said RSV in adults often feels like a bad cold, so people do not tend to pay much attention to it. When passed to children and the elderly, however, RSV symptoms can become far more severe. Etter said COVID-19 and the flu can be difficult to identify as well because they share many common symptoms. Both typically present a high fever very quickly and cause body aches and a cough. Etter said being careful and courteous when spending time with loved ones over the holidays can prevent outbreaks.

“If you can have hand sanitizer out at the table, if you can open a window if the weather allows for that, anything to improve the air circulation in the room,” Etter said.

She also stressed the importance of taking preventative measures before an infection has occurred. Etter emphasized rest and hydration as ways to boost the immune system and counter viruses.


The post Higher Numbers Of RSV, COVID Impacting Upper Cumberland appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.