DPH Concerned Over Increasing Flu and RSV Cases In Delaware
Delaware Public Health is seeing an increase in respiratory viruses – especially in influenza and RSV. In the week ending on October 22 there were 44 laboratory confirmed cases of flu – compared to 19 the week before. The total is at 69 – the flu season officially began on October 2. For the same time frame – there were 98 cases of RSV bringing the season total to 250. Public health officials are concerned about the impact that a Tripledemic could have on the state’s overall health and hospital capacity. There is currently no vaccine available for RSV so you should follow preventative measures for all three viruses.
The flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms, including fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue (tiredness), sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches and headaches. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from flu include a change in or loss of taste or smell. If you are sick, the best thing to do is call your health care provider to see if you should get tested for COVID-19 or come in for a visit. Even if you take a home COVID-19 test and it’s negative, consider re-testing in two days, or consult your provider to see if you need a flu test.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms including fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and in infants, fussiness and poor feeding. It then progresses to more severe symptoms such as fast or short breathing or wheezing, and in infants and young children, grunting noises when breathing, chest caving in during breathing, and skin turning purple or blue due to lack of oxygen. While persons of any age can develop RSV, it is most common in children under age 2 and can be severe, especially for infants and older adults. Most people will recover in one to two weeks.
Delawareans can help prevent the spread of RSV, COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses by following these simple steps.:
- Get vaccinated for COVID-19, the flu, and other illnesses for which vaccines are available
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of the tissue in a wastebasket afterward
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Sanitize commonly touched surfaces more frequently during the fall and winter
- Wear a mask when cases are high or if you are at higher risk for respiratory illness
The Delaware hospital system is experiencing strain right now, and Emergency Department (ED) wait times can be lengthy. DPH wants to remind Delawareans when to, and not to visit the ED or call 911.
VISIT AN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT:
- Trouble breathing or wheezing that is not well-controlled by asthma medications
- Unusual sleepiness or confusion
- A stiff neck and a fever
- A cut that won’t stop bleeding
- A broken bone
- Tightness in chest or pain
- Elevated blood pressure with other symptoms, such as chest pain or severe headache
- Drug overdose
- A head injury with vomiting, sleepiness, fainting or seizure
- An eye injury
- A serious burn
- At risk of harming themselves or others
DON’T VISIT EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT:
- Need a COVID-19 test
- Don’t feel well but can manage symptoms with over-the-counter medications
- Elevated blood pressure without other symptoms
- Runny nose/cough without trouble breathing
- Fever with mild symptoms
- Muscle soreness or backaches
- Minor cuts or scrapes
- Nausea or diarrhea without abdominal pain
For more information about RSV, the flu and COVID-19, visit publichealthalerts.delaware.gov.