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This Season's Viral "Trifecta": Risk factors, symptoms, and prevention

Local physician and owner of Statesboro Urgent Care and The DRIPBaR, Dr. Sreevalli Dega, wants you to be prepared for this season's three most common viruses: RSV, H1N1, and COVID-19. She shares practical advice and recommendations for managing the 'triple threat.'

Local physician and owner of Statesboro Urgent Care and The DRIPBaR, Dr. Sreevalli Dega, is warning us about the three most common viruses during this time of year.

The “triple threat” includes Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), H1N1 Influenza, and COVID-19. Certain risk factors can make some people more likely to contract these viruses, experience more serious symptoms, and have more difficulty in recovering.

Preventative measures for this trifecta of viruses include hand washing, vaccination, being mindful of spreading germs, and isolating after coming into contact with a sick person or developing symptoms.

Identifying Symptoms and Risks for Serious Infections

RSV can be contracted by anyone, but it is common in children under 2, and very serious for young and premature babies. Older adults with poor heart and lung health are also at higher risk for contracting the virus. A person can contract RSV more than once in their lifetime.

Mild cases of RSV are similar to the common cold, but serious cases may require hospitalization with oxygen and intravenous fluid treatments. For high risk children under 2, the medicine Synagis (palivizumab) has been approved for prevention of RSV, and you can ask your physician about this.

Common symptoms of RSV in older children and healthy adults include cough, stuffy nose, and low fever which appear 4 to 6 days after catching the virus.

Infants (less than 1 year old), premature babies, and adults who are older than 65 with lung and heart disease may have more serious symptoms. These can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Poor appetite
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Irritability (in babies)
  • Trouble breathing (shortness of breath, wheezing, rapid breathing)
  • Flaring nostrils as you breathe
  • Bluish skin (due to lack of oxygen)

More serious infections can lead to:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis (lung inflammation)

Various vaccines are approved for infants and adults, with babies born during RSV season (Fall through Spring) recommended to receive one nirsevimab dose.

H1N1, originally known as swine flu, is not the same as seasonal flu. It is a viral infection spread from person to person. The first global outbreak was in 2009.

Symptoms start 3 to 5 days after exposure to the virus. On average, they last about 8 days and commonly include:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Babies and children may have different symptoms.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever combined with a rash
  • Confusion or impatience
  • Trouble waking up
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Flu-like symptoms that go away and then return with a fever and cough

The flu vaccine has protected against H1N1 since 2010. In general, it’s safe, but there is a chance you may have a reaction. Consult your doctor about vaccination against H1N1, or if you believe you are having symptoms.

COVID-19 can also be contracted by anyone, but is more serious in people with weakened immune systems. COVID-19 symptoms range from mild to severe and can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure for symptoms to develop. 

Symptoms can differ slightly, based on the variant, but may include some or all of the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain or aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Runny nose and/or congestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Available vaccines include Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, both of which are mRNA vaccines, as well as the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine which is a protein subunit vaccine. If you believe you have contracted COVID-19, you can find out more about no-cost testing centers and at-home testing here.

Follow the links for each individual virus to learn more about symptoms and treatments.

Statesboro Urgent Care is on a mission to become your go-to community urgent care center. Their office is located at 1176 Brampton Avenue in Statesboro.  

They are open:

  • Monday through Friday - 8 am to 8 pm
  • Saturday - 9 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday - 12 pm to 6 pm

Call now to schedule an appointment at 912-259-9474. You can also walk in or schedule an appointment online now by CLICKING HERE.