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COVID not the only virus causing problems around Utah

Posted at 5:08 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 19:08:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Feeling sick? Utah residents are dealing with a handful of viruses causing problems and confusion around the state.

READ: 6 human cases of West Nile Virus found in Utah

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.

READ: Utah reports 27 COVID deaths over holiday weekend; 4,657 new cases

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.”

READ: Crisis Standards of Care activated in Idaho during COVID surge

While the viruses are different, prevention is the same. Doctors say vaccinated if eligible, wear a mask indoors, and wash hands often.