Health officials are seeing an uptick in flu and RSV cases

Winter and a rise in viruses go hand in hand but recently the U.S. has been seeing an early rise in flu and RSV cases and it has health officials on their toes
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Winter is right around the corner, but it looks like a seasonal surge in viruses is already here.

Health officials across the U.S. and here in the Heartland are sounding the alarm for a surge in flu and RSV cases.

Kiersten Woeltje says her son Waylin was just 5 weeks old when he tested positive for RSV. As a parent, the diagnosis terrified her.

“I did really good at not crying while he was in the hospital but there was one night particularly, they didn’t know if he was going to make it through and me and my boyfriend just sat there and bawled and hugged each other,” said Woeltje.

Respiratory syncytial (RSV) is a common upper respiratory virus in young children, but Shawnna Rhine, with the Southern Seven Health Department, says RSV is also common in adults.

“Typically, we think of RSV being a childhood virus, anyone can contract RSV so it’s important that if you’re showing any signs of any kind of like cold like symptoms flu like symptoms that you talk with your doctor and stay home” said Rhine.

According to health officials, more patients are testing positive for the virus much earlier in the season. One main symptom is a wheezing, wet sound cough.

Emily Williams, a mother of three, worries her children will catch RSV again.

“It’s scary because you see these little babies who are just passing away from being sick and that is like one of my biggest fears,” said Williams.

Woeltje offers her advice to other parents, as well as others who come in contact with infants.

“Be aware, babies don’t have the greatest immune system. If you aren’t the mother or the father of that baby, you don’t need to be in their face kissing on them hugging on them. If you’re coughing at all and you think it’s sinuses or not don’t be around that baby. Just be alert, be aware, and use caution,” said Woeltje.