Adult helping a school child blow their nose

Summer is near but winter respiratory viruses are still here

(SACRAMENTO)

Winter may have come and gone, but some of its respiratory viruses are still here and circulating in our communities. 

UC Davis Health experts are seeing cases of influenza (flu), RSV and other respiratory viruses – even though summer is around the corner.

“Influenza cases are still rising and many community-associated respiratory viruses are increasing,” said Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “These viruses are all typically associated with the colder months. They don’t usually hang around this long.”

The California Department of Public Health has reported that influenza activity is elevated and continues to circulate in California. The majority of detected influenza viruses are the strain known as A (H3N2).

“We don’t know why this might be happening, but it could be due to a very bad match between the flu vaccine and the circulating H3N2 strain. Plus, there have been increased opportunities for transmission after the past two winters of lockdowns,” Blumberg said.

Dean Blumberg
Influenza cases are still rising and many community-associated respiratory viruses are increasing, These viruses are all typically associated with the colder months. They don’t usually hang around this long.” Dean Blumberg

Pediatrician Tammy Woo said she and her colleagues were diagnosing cases of flu A up until about two weeks ago at the UC Davis Health Midtown Clinic.

“We are still seeing a lot of stomach bugs, and I did have a patient with RSV last week,” Woo said. “Hand, foot and mouth disease is also going around now, but that isn’t completely out of the ordinary I think.”

The winter illnesses are happening as the specter of the COVID-19 variants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 continue to take hold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that Sacramento County has a high level of COVID-19, with the rate of spread eight times greater than it was in April.

So how should people protect themselves from these viruses? UC Davis Health experts recommend taking the usual precautions:

  • If you are feeling sick, stay home. Do not go to school or work and don’t run errands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands when you are done.
  • Clean your hands often. Sing the birthday song twice while washing your hands with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers and rub your hands until the gel is dry.
  • Wear a well-fitted mask or face covering to protect yourself in spaces when you can’t maintain a safe distance from others.

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