Utah sees booked appointments, uptick in respiratory viruses

Nov 11, 2022, 8:24 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses that aren’t COVID-19, and hospitals and doctors say they’re seeing it every day in Utah.

Intermountain Healthcare told KSL Friday that they first started seeing early signs of respiratory viruses in August with RINO.

Over the last several weeks and months, they have seen a big uptick in RSV cases, with numbers as high as they usually see in December.

And unlike COVID-19, the group most affected seems to be children.

At Utah Valley Pediatrics, Dr. Scott Mumford said they’ve been booked at their American Fork location but said they were still finding ways to see children who need to be seen.

“Right now, the numbers are pretty unprecedented,” he said. “This year in particular seems like there’s a lot more sicknesses, a lot more sick children.”

Mumford said they are seeing a lot of cases of croup in kids of all ages. It’s brought on by a virus, and includes a barky cough, a raspy voice, and trouble breathing.

Bronchiolitis is a lung infection that impacts babies especially, and it’s often caused by RSV.

And then there’s the flu. Mumford said they’ve been seeing influenza A in particular.

“And those kids are pretty sick, and we’re definitely recommending flu shots to help prevent severity of illness,” he said.

The CDC pointed to COVID-19 as one of the factors impacting respiratory viruses over the last two years. KSL asked Mumford about it.

“What kind of impact did the pandemic have on that, it’s hard to tell,” he said. “But certainly, some of these viruses are coming back. It seems like as if they were gone for a year or two when we masked up, and now they’re just sort of waiting for their opportunity to spread.”

Mumford added that they’re “very contagious, and there is an abundance of them kind of coming at the same time, not in their usual season.”

In addition to getting the flu shot, Mumford stressed washing hands, covering our coughs, and avoiding large gatherings over the holiday season if we’re sick.

“Especially in Utah. Large families. Large gatherings. And we always see a rush of these viral illnesses after the holidays,” he said.

“We’re planning on a pretty busy December, January and February,” Mumford added.

He recommended bringing your children in for a visit if they have a fever for more than a few days or are struggling to breathe.

“Anything that’s concerning to a parent — pale, decreased urine output, decreased drinking — any of those things, call your provider to get advice,” he said.

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Utah sees booked appointments, uptick in respiratory viruses