A recent spike in what the media has named a “tripledemic” – an increase in influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19 – has been felt by hospitals and health systems across the country. Care for patients with these illnesses has kept our ED and urgent care centers (UCC) very busy.
Whenever you or a member of your family is of course you would want to get the best medical care. But knowing the symptoms will be very helpful in order for us to assess the steps we can take to start feeling better.
Here are common symptoms of COVID, the flu, and RSV:
- A gradual start
- Fever or chills
- Breathing difficulty
- Loss of flavor and smell
- Sore and Itchy throat
- A gradual start
- Loss of appetite
- Babies, children and the Elderly are most vulnerable
- Fast start
- Body aches
- Respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat and colds
How to Care for Illnesses at Home
Many seasonal respiratory illnesses can be safely treated at home without a trip to the ER or urgent care center. Staying at home lowers your chance of contracting additional diseases in the ED and enables our staff to treat people with critical medical situations more quickly.
Here are some steps you can take to start feeling better:
1. Correct OTC medication
For age-appropriate, over-the-counter medications in the right dosages to break up mucus for colds, cough and subside fever speak with your doctor or neighborhood pharmacist.
Drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can cause a fever, so drink plenty of fluids to aid with cold and flu-like symptoms.
3. Relieve stuffy nose
You can use a nebulizer or hot water steam to clear up stuffy nasal passages.
4. Get plenty of rest
Resting well can help you recover. Dressing comfortably is important because you may feel extremely hot due to fever. Having a warm bath or sponge bath may also help to make you feel better.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
- Sanitize all surfaces you and the patient touched after the illness.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Take vitamins and supplements to strengthen your immune system.
- Do not share food, drinks and utensils.
- Try to wear a face mask or gloves while taking care of the patient.
Keeping in mind taking care of patients is important but protecting ourselves and preventing the spread of the illness is also an important part in home healthcare.
When to consult a doctor
- Ibuprofen or Paracetamol does not reduce temperature after administration.
- Very high fever that lasts more than a day.
- Chest pains
- Loud and heavy cough
- Abdominal pain
- Severe dehydration
You should seek Emergency Care whenever these symptoms are even worse or have trouble breathing.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of flu, COVID-19, or RSV, please consult your primary care or pediatrician.