UW Health: Respiratory viruses on the rise as we enter the holiday season

UW Health: Respiratory viruses on the rise as we enter the holiday season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- UW Health notes a nationwide spike in respiratory illnesses in the last month.

Some viruses won't slow down anytime soon, with flu numbers expected to jump throughout the winter.

This winter's virus trifecta is the flu, Covid, and RSV.

While RSV cases in children peaked early this year, the flu, Covid, and colds are right on time.

Health officials say the U.S. typically sees a spike in seasonal viruses around the holidays.

"We are still preparing for what could be a very busy time for health systems in the next couple months," said Dr. Jeff Pothof with UW Health.

He warns it will be a robust flu season, with already high numbers in southern Wisconsin.

"It's only a matter of weeks now before we're going to see high flu activity across the entire state," Dr. Pothof said.

Along with the flu, doctors will continue to keep an eye on Covid-19.

"We are seeing cases start to go up, not surprisingly. Weather's getting cooler, people are going indoors, folks' vaccinations, if they haven't been boosted, are starting to wane," Pothof said.

While RSV hospitalizations for children are slowing down after a fall peak, health systems are preparing for an influx from other viruses.

"Historically, we will see an increase in influenza hospitalizations. We're likely to see a slight uptick in Covid hospitalizations as we get farther into winter," Pothof said.

There are many other respiratory viruses that present as a common cold.

Along with a cough and fever, if you're feeling muscle aches, headaches, and a sore throat, Covid or the flu could be to blame.

"It really won't be possible for people to differentiate whether they have influenza or Covid-19 just based on symptoms. They're going to need a test to figure that out," Pothof said.

Dr. Pothof said the most important thing is to reduce virus transmission as much as possible.

"If you're sick with anything, it's best not to go out in public and make other people sick," Pothof said.

Pothof recommends getting the most recent Covid booster if you haven't already.

He said if you haven't gotten your flu shot, now is the time, as it takes two weeks for your body to build up that immunity.

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