Letters to the Editor: March 1


Flu Season Advice

There is additional information that might be helpful to Jewish Times readers during flu season (“Self-Care for Sick Days: Navigate Cough, Cold and Flu Season Like a Pro,” Feb. 23). Along with practicing healthy habits, people should adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations regarding flu and COVID-19 vaccines as well as the recently approved respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine recommended for adults age 60 and older, a group in which an infection can be especially serious.

Acute respiratory symptoms overlap among people infected by common cold, influenza, COVID-19 and RSV viruses. Because there are virus-specific treatments, it is sometimes important to confirm a specific diagnosis. There are rapid at-home nasal swab-based test kits, including a combination kit for influenza and COVID-19, and a recently approved triple-combination kit for RSV, influenza and COVID-19. None requires a prescription, but the triple-combination swab sample has to be processed in a lab with a one- to two-day turnaround.

A specific diagnosis can be helpful as there are now specific anti-viral treatments for COVID-19 and influenza A and B infections. An early diagnosis is important as treatments work best if started within 48 hours of symptoms for the flu and five days for COVID-19.

Beryl Rosenstein, M.D.


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