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Saturday, March 25, 2023
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Utah families dealing with rise in various sicknesses

SALT LAKE CITY — The cold weather seems to have brought with it another cold and flu season, and Utah is seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses along with COVID-19.

“We had colds this week, last week… Sore throat, my voice sounds awful, we had the stomach bug,” said Amanda Funai, a mother of five boys. “It got so cold so quick this year that I think it’s just really bad.”

Her youngest son Jack is feeling better now, but she says it’s been hard keeping all five of her sons — all in school right now — healthy.

“It’s kind of impossible. The youngest is in preschool right now for the first time, so he’s getting everything, and [in] his class they’ve been having RSV,” Funai said. “I know kids in his school got hospitalized; it’s been really bad.”

MountainStar Healthcare is sharing some tips on how to keep kids safe and healthy during this spread of sicknesses.

“Across the country, hospitals are seeing a surge in pediatric visits for respiratory illness, including flu, COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV),” MountainStar said in a statement. “Parents should not delay seeking emergency care when needed.”

Emergency rooms across the country are filling up with cases of RSV, flu and cold, and even more — so what are parents doing to try to make it all work?

“We got the kids their COVID boosters last weekend. I’m hoping that will help, but we haven’t had COVID!” Funai said. “I hope we don’t get COVID. We’ve been getting everything else!”

MountainStar shared these suggestions for all of us as we head into the holiday season:

To help prevent the spread of RSV, COVID-19 & Flu:

  • Stay up-to-date on vaccinations 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
  • Cover your coughs & sneezes (not with your hands) 
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces (like doorknobs & mobile devices) 
  • Stay home if you’re sick 

“It’s a challenge. My job’s pretty flexible, but if I’m teaching I have to go in,” Funai said.

Funai is a professor at the University of Utah.

“We’ve just been juggling, but it’s a challenge. I worry if my husband’s traveling more, that makes it really challenging,” she said. “And I don’t know, we’ll see… It’s hard for my students, too. I’ve had a lot of students out sick and with sick kids, too.”

But she’s grateful for moments like these when her little one is up for an outing to the playground, but she knows that could easily change.

“They’re still getting sick. We’re getting sick. We’re just trying to make it through,” she said.



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