BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — COVID-19, RSV, and the flu have caused many illnesses over the past two months and health experts say things could get worse with winter on the way.
The current weekly flu map done by the CDC shows Alabama is still very high for flu cases.
Dr. Wesley Willeford, with the Jefferson County Department of Health, tells CBS 42 that they’ve seen flu and RSV numbers drop slightly, but their concern is a spike in COVID-19 going into the holidays.
Dr. Willeford says community transmission levels for COVID-19 are still low, but more activities and events during the holidays cause concern for an uptick in cases.
“My hope is we can keep it under some degree of control to preserve our hospital capacity,” Willeford said.
Running nose, cough, and congestion are common for COVID-19, the flu, and RSV, but some symptoms set them apart.
Doctors say people with COVID-19 and the flu experience more body aches, while RSV symptoms may include short, shallow, and rapid breathing. RSV is typically seen in younger people and people over 65.
“The hard part is there aren’t as many influenza and RSV take-home tests. Those are typically based in an office or a medical provider of some sort and that’s usually how you get that answer,” Willeford said. “I believe right now the first or easiest question to answer is whether it is COVID-19 or not.
Willeford says if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should get tested immediately to help prevent further spread.
He says the best defense against these viruses is being vaccinated and staying at home if you’re sick.
“If you’re sick, stay out of work, stay out of school, try to break the chain of transmission. You don’t want to spread it any more than you need to; that way, you can keep our numbers down and keep us out of trouble,” Willeford said.