As the school year begins for millions of students around the nation, the rates of three respiratory infections – COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) – are on the rise, leaving many people anxious about the upcoming fall and winter months. In fact, for the fifth consecutive week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has increased.
At Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center (NHMC), family medicine physicians like Dr. Diana Lev recognize the importance of dealing with these inevitable spikes in cases with a sound plan and a commitment to health-conscious protocols.
“With COVID cases back on the rise and kids returning to school, it is vital that we educate ourselves on the precautions we can take to minimize our risk of contracting the common respiratory infections that are prevalent during the fall and winter seasons – RSV, influenza and COVID-19,” says Dr. Lev. “Staying up-to-date with your vaccinations, minimizing large gatherings and practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as consistent hand-washing, are some of the ways we can keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible.”
While children under the age of two are at greatest risk of developing severe symptoms of RSV, this virus can be transmitted to other members of the family, similar to COVID-19 and influenza. As such, Dr. Lev recommends educating ourselves on the differences between the viruses, which have many overlapping symptoms, while keeping in mind the importance of vaccinations and other safety precautions to give ourselves and our loved ones the best protection heading into the upcoming seasons.