Emergency Services Director Shares Current RSV, Flu and COVID-19 Trends

Coughing and sneezing - it's the sound of the holiday season. During fall and winter months, we see an uptick in viruses, and this year is no different.

"Flu season typically starts in October and peaks in December or February. So we expect to see more flu and COVID as the season progresses, but right now we’re seeing a lot of RSV," said Dr. Joshua Keithley, Chief of Medicine and Director of Emergency Services at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs.

RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. It's a virus that infects the lung cells and it can cause them to become inflamed and can make people have a cough and congestion. Most people associate those symptoms with the common cold, but RSV can last a little bit longer than the common cold, it can last up to three weeks.

Dr. Keithley said they're seeing a lot of kids with RSV, and if your child is sick, be mindful of their symptoms.

"For any illness, if a child is not eating or not drinking or not making urine, those are reasons to bring them in. If you’ve suctioned out their nose and suctioned the snot out and they’re still having a lot of difficulty breathing and what that looks like is a lot of pulling on their ribs, a lot of pulling on the chin and at the neck, bring them in," said Dr. Keithley.

With the elderly population, Dr. Keithley said the flu is more prominent.

"We’re seeing an increase in both well visits where people just don’t feel well, but they’re overall not requiring any kind of hospitalization. We’re also seeing an increase in patients that are at risk of complications with these viruses like elderly patients with existing chronic medical problems," said Dr. Keithley. W

hat can you do to stay healthy this holiday season? Dr. Keithley said wash your hands, stay away from people that are sick, if you're sick, stay away from others, wash commonly used surfaces and the biggest thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick is to get vaccinated. If you do get sick, you can make an appointment with your primary care provider or visit one of our convenient care locations.