Doctors across the country and the tri-state are worried about what could be a long winter, health-wise.
Hospitals are seeing a big spike in RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) cases, the respiratory virus that primarily affects children. Add that to a likely increase in COVID-19 cases as well as peak flu season, and concerns about a triple-demic are mounting .
At Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island, COVID cases are ramping up earlier than expected.
“What we’ve been dealing with recently is the significant uptick in the number of children who are showing up to emergency departments with RSV,” said Dr. James Schneider, the chief of pediatric critical care at Cohen Children’s.
The symptoms of RSV are very similar to the flu and COVID — AND Dr. Schneider said he’s seeing all three viruses much earlier in the season.
As for the flu.. pharmacy giant Walgreens now says activity at its clinics is more than 10 times higher than it was last season — and it has doubled in just the past two weeks.
“We’re seeing it in the cities in the south and we’re seeing it move a lot faster than we have in the past,” said Anita Patel, the vice president for pharmacy product services at Walgreens.
What are preventative measures you can take to avoid RSV? The CDC recommends washing hands and avoiding close contact with others.
Local pharmacies have been busy filling prescriptions for a while now as well.
“Colds, ear infections, strep throat — there’s a lot of viral things going on,” said Kristen Demundo, a pharmacist in Commack.
The demand has already created a shortage of some drugs, pharmacists say, including for things like antibiotics and amoxicillin.
Doctors say there are simple things to stay heathy: Get vaccinated, frequent hand washing, and masking up in crowded indoor spaces — even if it’s no longer mandated.
According to the CDC, RSV results in around 58,000 annual hospitalizations and 100 to 300 deaths among children under 5 each year in the US