Methodist in the Media

Douglas County Officials Offer Update on Respiratory Illnesses

Published: Dec. 21, 2023

With respiratory illnesses on the rise, vaccination rates low and the holiday season about to hit full stride, health officials are urging Nebraskans who are eligible to get shots for COVID-19, influenza and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus.

Dr. Ashley LeGrand, family practice physician with Methodist Physicians Clinic, said clinics are busy with all three respiratory illnesses and others, not to mention year-end physicals and preoperative visits.

They’re also seeing a lot of strep throat, not just in kids but also in adults, she said, as well as post-viral coughs lingering for a few weeks after a respiratory illness.

While most upper respiratory illnesses can safely be treated at home with over-the-counter measures, LeGrand said, worsening coughs, wheezing or difficulty breathing, developing fevers or chest pain warrant seeing a doctor.

Patients should call their doctor first for guidance on the appropriate place to seek care, she said. Clinics are doing their best to get patients in, but urgent cares are available for those who have symptoms that need to be addressed that day.

Among the reasons to go to an emergency room, she said, are severe shortness of breath, wheezing, oxygen saturation levels of less than 90%, a fever that won’t break and an inability to take in liquids or food.

Omaha World-Herald: Douglas County Officials Offer Update on Respiratory Illnesses