Hello, respiratory virus season

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

It’s that time of year, when health experts say we’re entering respiratory virus season. That’s when we see an uptick in cases of influenza, RSV and COVID.

It’s no surprise what happens in Southwest Florida is impacted by the spread of cases up north.

State tracking data provided by the Florida Department of Health shows Southwest Florida is currently seeing an increase in both flu and RSV.

That’s something Lee Health System Medical Direct and epidemiologist Mary Beth Saunders expect this time of year.

“When our northern friends come down and start living here or we start having more visitors to the area,” Saunder said.

It’s not an old wive’s tale that cold weather brings respiratory viruses. Only it’s not the cold causing illness. In cold climates, people tend to go indoors, where it’s easier to spread germs, and wherever they go, their germs go too.

“At Lee Health, we prepare for influenza season and respiratory viral season every year because we certainly have a surge in our population, and the number of people coming down, they just want to be in the sun, and they’re going to feel better, they often hop on a plane sick,” said Saunders.

So, now is the time to arm yourself with protection. There are vaccines for each of these viral illnesses, but Saunders said it’s not your only line of defense.

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can help see you through the season in good health.

While the first cold snap up north typically sends people packing, triggering our virus season. The peak for flu comes after the holidays in December and January.

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