Southwest Oklahoma is seeing a spike in RSV and Flu cases a little early in season this year

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The flu and RSV season started a little early this year, and kids are the ones being the most affected. Dr. Guernegomba said they normally see the flu and RSV cases increase in October, but this year numbers surged in September, a couple of weeks after kids started school.

The first pediatric flu death has been reported in the U.S., and according to the CDC, hospitalizations from the flu and RSV in the U.S. are reaching unexpected levels. Usually, physicians can expect to see a spike starting in October but this year it started earlier than usual.

“And literally it’s one month after starting school in August, so what does it mean,” Dr. Guernegomba said.

Dr. Guernegomba said many kids were born during the pandemic and were never exposed to the flu or RSV, a respiratory illness dangerous for small children.

“So this is the first time ever, and also we don’t do social distancing anymore and we don’t do any mask anymore and children are happy and go-go,” Dr. Guernegomba

The Regional Director of OSDH District 5 said while there are definitely more flu cases this year compared to last year, the spike in RSV is what’s really worrying doctors, especially because it doesn’t have a vaccine.

“The RSV is what’s most concerning because its a literally almost a straight lineup. As far as the number of cases compared to all the other years. So, RSV is really concerning,” Coms said.

Dr. Guernegomba said the symptoms of flu and RSV can be similar but there are some ways to tell the difference.

“RSV sometimes you do not have a fever and the symptoms are gradual. You start with a stuffy nose, runny nose, and cough and then you move to wheeze and really hard to breathe. while flu is very abrupt and you have everything: fever, stuffy nose, runny nose, bang, just like that,” Dr. Guernegomba said.

There is no vaccine for RSV, but there is a vaccine for the flu. While most people speculate on how effective the flu shot is, Combs, recommends everyone get it.

“Regardless of how effective it is, it will reduce symptoms of the flu, so if you end up getting the flu and you’ve had your flu vaccine your symptoms won’t be as severe as if you didn’t have the vaccine,” Combs said.

Combs also said practicing basic hygiene habits like washing your hands and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing will help control the spread.

You can also get a free flu shot at Comanche County Health Department and they will also have a flu shot drive on November 16 at the Lawton Farmers Market.