NORRISTOWN — Health officials in Montgomery County are seeing an uptick in cases ahead of the winter season.

“CHOP is seeing an increase in viral infections across the board,” said Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Dr. Alison Ballantyne.

Ballantine and Dr. Richard Lorraine, medical director of the Montgomery County Health Authority, identified RSV and influenza as the two main viruses, along with the lingering presence of COVID-19.

Regarding pediatric cases, Ballantyne shared her perspective from Children’s Health Network, which has outpatient and acute care facilities in King of Prussia.

“Many of our children have what we call immune debt, meaning they were not exposed to viruses during the pandemic, and so now there are two cohorts of children, particularly young children and infants, who are really hit hard,” she said. said. “We’re seeing an earlier than normal surge of RSV, which was also much higher. … This particular virus is no more dangerous, no more dangerous than ever before.”

RSV, also known as respiratory syncytial virus, is classified as “a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health workers are seeing “an earlier spike in RSV cases,” Lorraine said, adding that the peak time is two to three months earlier.

“There’s just a lot of it, and we’re also seeing more flu,” Ballantyne said. “So this has led to more and more patients seeking care in a variety of settings, and we know that across all areas there are long wait times associated with availability of appointments.”

the flu is also following a similar path for the elderly, as Lorraine added that “we’re seeing this significant peak,” about “two to three months earlier than we normally do.”

In Montgomery County, there were 1,126 cases of the flu between October 2nd and November 5th. Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The presence of COVID-19, influenza and RSV creates a “potential triple epidemic” in the coming months, Lorraine said, noting that “it’s already straining the health care system.”

Ballantyne suggested parents wait longer at health care facilities to bring drinks, snacks and toys to keep children busy.

She and Lorraine also urged people to continue good health practices, such as washing hands, staying home if sick and getting a flu shot when eligible.

Lorraine agreed. Anyone 6 months of age and older can get a flu shot, according to Lorraine, who said the shot can provide several benefits, including preventing the flu, reducing the severity of flu illness and reducing the risk of hospitalization and intensive care.

During last week’s meeting, Ballentine pushed for more exposure for the suburban medical facility.

“Let them know we’re here and how much we care and how we want to support people and if you need to come to the emergency room, please definitely come, we’re here,” she said.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkush thanked Ballantyne for her time.

“We are very grateful to hear from you today,” Arkush said. “We are very grateful to have CHOP here in the county. The outpatient facilities are great, but now with the new hospital opening, it’s just added an incredible resource for people here in our county and some neighboring counties.”

Additional information and resources can be found on the CHOP website at https://www.chop.edu/sickseason.

https://www.mainlinemedianews.com/2022/11/22/rsv-flu-cases-on-the-rise-in-montgomery-county-with-tripledemic-concerns/

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