SALT LAKE CITY — Feeling sick? Utah residents are dealing with a handful of viruses causing problems and confusion around the state.
Unseasonable respiratory viruses are making Utahns miserable with many of the same symptoms, including cough, fever, and headache.
“We are having now, several things circulating which makes it really hard to figure out which one you’ve got and what to do with that information,” said Dr. Per Gesteland, who works at both University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Gesteland oversees GermWatch.org, a disease monitoring site from Intermountain Health. At the top of the list this week: the common cold, hand foot and mouth disease, and RSV.
“We are seeing moderate to high levels of RSV that we would normally be seeing heading into late December, early January,” Dr. Gesteland said.
RSV is hitting several months early and and it’s hitting hard.
Dr. Gesteland says Primary Children’s is busier than normal treating severe cases of infection in the lungs and breathing passages; symptoms that often mirror COVID-19.
With viruses carrying the potential to cause complications, doctors urge parents to pay attention, test for COVID and talk with their doctor when their child gets sick.
“You can kind of try to sort them out, but it gets really hard, even for us expert clinicians to tell which virus you’re carrying," said Gesteland. "Think about getting tested, especially if you’re in that school-aged group and there are implications to bringing that back and spreading it in a school environment.”
While the viruses are different, prevention is the same. Doctors say vaccinated if eligible, wear a mask indoors, and wash hands often.