Written by: Tina Tofaeono
This is a time of year when loved ones travel far and wide to see each other and spend the holidays together. The holiday season of 2022 got off to a bumpy start with RSV and Influenza numbers on the rise and COVID-19 still looming in the background. The US is experiencing levels of RSV and influenza that are higher than usual, especially among children and COVID-19 continues to circulate across the United States.
It’s important that we know the symptoms of each of these. The flu and COVID-19 have very similar symptoms and it can be very difficult to tell them apart. Some similar symptoms they share are: fever, chills, headaches, cough, muscle soreness, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, runny nose and sore throat. One symptom that is unique to COVID-19 is the loss of taste or smell.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs and breathing passages. RSV symptoms are: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, wheezing and a decrease in appetite. Most people with RSV recover in a week or two, but it can be serious for infants and older adults.
The one thing the three of these illnesses have in common is they are all contagious, so people should be vigilant with wearing a mask. While nationwide mask mandates have expired, it’s still a good idea to have them on hand when you don’t feel well.
If you’re not sure what you have, you can always take a flu or COVID test to rule those out. Currently, the only test available for differentiating flu, COVID, and RSV at home is the Labcorp Pixel test, where users swab themselves at home and send the sample in for lab testing. However, this test has a turnaround time of one to two days and hardly competes with an at-home test that has results in 15-30 minutes.
If you think you may have RSV, Influenza (flu), or COVID and you plan on being around loved ones, it might just be best to mask up and/or isolate yourself to protect the ones you love this holiday season. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Written by staff or Alliance Partners
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