But an FHH official says it’s not uncommon this time of year.
Frederick Health Hospital (Photo from Frederick Health Hospital)
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick Health Hospital has seen an increase in patients with respiratory illnesses. But that’s not uncommon for this time of year, says Dr. Kathy Weishaar, the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Medical Affairs.
Even though the number of patients with respiratory illnesses has been on the rise, it’s not overwhelming. “We have been incredibly busy, but we remain as efficient as possible in trying to move people through the system appropriately to make sure we can address everyone’s need,” says Dr. Weishaar.
When it comes to the types of illnesses, Dr. Weishaar says there no one kind, but a “smattering” of illness types. “We see COVID. We still have patients in the hospital with COVID. We’re seeing influenza because it’s the typical flu season. We are seeing RSV,” Dr. Weishaar says.
There have been both viral and bacterial forms pneumonia, and something called “viral respiratory illnesses.” “So for the person without health issues, maybe they can kind of weather it at home, take a few days off, take it easy,” says Dr. Weishaar. “But for individuals who may have underlying health issues, such COPD–Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease–or asthma, those types of illnesses can get them into trouble.”
As for treatment:. “A fair number of these things are supportive care. And what I mean by that is it might be extra oxygen. But in the right scenario, if somebody has a bacterial infection, then you would be using antibiotics. You may use steroids which are potent, anti-inflammatory medications which can help someone’s breathing,” Dr. Weishaar says.
FHH staff can also use nebulizers and ventilators, if necessary.
Even though many cases of respiratory illnesses occur during the cold weather, Dr. Weishaar says it’s not the falling temperatures which cause these illnesses. But the cool conditions drive many people indoors. “So then you have folks that are in closer proximity to one another. They’re doing social events. We just finished a major holiday. That allows these illnesses to pass more easily between folks because you’re close together,” she says.
According to Drl Weishaar, the best ways to avoid getting sick are to get you vaccinations for COVID, the flu and RSV. And if you’re sick, avoid being too close to other people. She also says consider wearing a mask. “You’re sick and you have to mix with somebody, you have to go out. Wearing a mask can protect others around you from getting your germs, and vice versa. It can protect you from inhaling the germs from someone else,” she says.
By Kevin McManus