Here are the key differences between COVID, RSV, a cold and the flu as cases rise

Here are the key differences between COVID, RSV, a cold and the flu as cases rise

Although flu cases in Massachusetts rank the state’s estimated severity of illness as ‘low’, according to the CDC, the state is seeing an early rise in cases this season, as well as a ‘skyrocketing’ RSV infections in children and ubiquitous COVID rates. , according to a Massachusetts pediatrician, Boston 25 reported.

Dr. Mark Blumenthal, acting chairman of pediatrics at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, told the outlet how to tell the difference between the three major diseases plaguing Americans this season.

“We expect this year to be quite a busy year for viruses,” Blumenthal told the outlet.

“With the pandemic, the seasonality of viruses has kind of changed, so generally you can see something like hand-foot-mouth in the summer, RSV in the winter, flu in the winter, and those have all changed more recently,” Blumenthal said.

The outlet reported that the doctor said RSV cases were very high and spread at the start of this season, and he expected COVID cases to increase as well.

“People’s immune systems probably took a break during COVID because everyone was kind of masked up and not going out,” Blumenthal told the outlet. “Now it’s coming back a bit with a vengeance.”

Symptom differences between COVID, RSV and influenza are minimal, Blumenthal said, as they all have symptoms including runny nose, cough and fever.

What the CDC and the Mayo Clinic say

The main difference between COVID and influenza is the potential loss or change in taste and smell when infected with COVID, although it is rare that there is a chance of the same symptom occurring. happens with the flu, according to Mayo Clinic.

“If someone has COVID-19, it may take longer from the time of infection to feel symptoms than if they have the flu,” the CDC wrote.

Catching a headache from a cold is rare, the Mayo Clinic said, while diarrhea and nausea or vomiting never occur with a cold, although these three symptoms are “usually” or “sometimes present with COVID.

Adults who contract RSV often have mild cold symptoms, the CDC said, but the virus can be serious for adults over 65, those with chronic heart and lung conditions, and weakened immune systems. RSV is on the rise in children, Blumenthal said in Boston 25, and the The CDC reported there was a nationwide increase in RSV detections and hospitalizations.

It’s a serious condition for infants, too, and parents are worried about their children’s health — even Boston Children’s Hospital “began postponing elective surgeries earlier this month, warning families of ‘times significant waits “for hospital beds due to illnesses like RSV long before the typical flu season has even started,” reported Boston 25.

The CDC said the main symptoms of RSV include a runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. Early symptoms in children are a runny nose, decreased appetite and cough, the CDC said, and the disease almost always presents with obvious symptoms in infants.

Impact on infants and young children

In very young infants – younger than 6 months – the CDC has stated that irritability, decreased activity, decreased appetite and apnea, or pauses in breathing longer than 10 seconds, are common symptoms, but fever does not always present.

RSV can lead to serious illnesses in infants, such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis, according to the CDC, and “one to two in 100 infants under 6 months of age infected with RSV may require hospitalization.”

“It’s definitely a major concern, especially if you have a young baby, because RSV, it can turn very quickly, it might seem like mild symptoms, and then all of a sudden you find yourself in respiratory distress” , said Melissa Levin, mother of three from Westwood. Boston 25.

Her 7-month-old son, Aidan, started daycare and Levin told the station he had been exposed to RSV before and now has a double ear infection.

“Socializing and childcare is really key for us as dual-job parents, we need to have childcare, so daycare made the most sense, but we also know there’s has high exposure,” Levin told Boston 25.

In addition to flu, colds, COVID and RSV to worry about, Blumenthal said enterovirus should make a comeback this year.

“About every two years, enterovirus can cause this ascending paralytic-like or weakness-like syndrome, and 2022 is one of those years that we expect,” Blumenthal told the outlet.

However, Blumenthal also said that these severe cases are rare and, “If we’re going to live our lives then you’re going to be exposed, so I think part of that is just recognizing that your child will get sick and that’s okay,” according to the outlet.

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