San Antonio doctors emphasize importance of precautions against respiratory viruses

Even as the expected end of the respiratory virus season nears, doctors are asking people to continue safety practices.

SAN ANTONIO – March marks four years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and doctors across San Antonio are still pushing safe practices against respiratory viruses.

“We have seen high levels for a while,” said Jason Bowling, MD, the hospital epidemiologist at University Health and clinical associate professor and infectious diseases specialist at UT Health San Antonio. “Hopefully, we’re starting to see things come back down as we move into the spring. And then summer.”

Bowling said this season for respiratory viruses has been serious. Since the start of the new year, positive cases of these viruses have peaked in San Antonio and across the country. He said now in March, these cases are starting to dwindle. But this comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines for people with COVID-19 infections.

The CDC changed its longstanding guidance, saying that people can return to work or regular activities if their symptoms are mild and improving and it’s been a day since they’ve had a fever. People no longer have to isolate for five days.

Tarak Patel, a pediatric pulmonologist at Baptist Children’s Hospital, said even with this decision, people should still be alert.

“This year has been an unusual year for the viruses,” Patel said. “It seems like these viruses are competing for each other and for spreading in the community. And as one goes up, the other one goes down.”

Bowling said healthy practices like washing your hands or staying at home if you’re sick can start to sound repetitive, but he said it’s even more important now.

“People are still at risk so still take precautions,” Bowling said. “People should just kind of fold this into their regular practice.”

To read more about the updated CDC guidelines, click here.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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