New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) – Along with COVID-19 and the flu, RSV cases are on the rise here in Connecticut. CT Style Host Natasha Lubczenko recently spoke with Dr. Emily Volk, President of the College of American Pathologists, about steps we can all take to help stay safe this winter season.

Dr. Volk describes what exactly RSV is and how it spreads. She says, “RSV is a common respiratory virus that really likes to attack the small airways in children and sometimes in the elderly. It can be kind of sneaky because it can start as a cold-like illness, but then suddenly get much more severe, with folks having a lot of trouble breathing – breathing fast and deep. And in children, this can be accompanied by not wanting to eat, which, of course, is always worrisome to a parent.” 

It helps to understand how it’s transmitted. Dr. Volk explains that the virus is spread through coughing and sneezing, and it lives on surfaces where someone has coughed and sneezed. So you can pick it up by touching contaminated surfaces as well. It’s quite contagious.

When asked if she had an explanation as to why we’re seeing a surge in RSV cases right now, Dr. Volk says, “Over the last couple of years, we’ve done a nice job of social distancing and keeping folks away from crowded areas where these kinds of viruses typically circulate. So, while doing a doing a great job of keeping COVID-19 at bay, we’ve also kept other viral illnesses at bay, and this includes RSV.” “So, since we’ve had fewer infections up to now, that means less immunity. And less immunity means more severe infections when those viruses are now circulating.”

Dr. Volk has some tips for families to stay safe and hopefully avoiding getting sick, while looking to travel this holiday season:

  • Even though we don’t have a vaccine for RSV, we do have excellent vaccines for seasonal flu and for COVID 19. There’s still a lot of opportunity for folks to get those vaccines. They’re safe and effective, so get those vaccines before you travel.
  • Use a mask if you’re in an overcrowded area or you’re worried about picking
    something up.
  • Above all, if you are feeling sick now, stay home. The last thing you want to bring as a holiday gift is a respiratory illness.

You can learn more about Dr. Emily Volk and the College of American Pathologists, by visiting: www.yourpathologist.org