November 2, 2022 - AAPS HEALTH ALERT: 3 respiratory illnesses


Dear AAPS Families, 

This fall, three different respiratory illnesses are circulating: COVID, influenza (flu), and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). All of them cause similar respiratory symptoms, sometimes with a fever. Both flu and RSV can cause more serious illness in young children. Every year children are hospitalized with flu and RSV. 

Nationally, the CDC is reporting early increases in seasonal flu activity. The flu season has started in Washtenaw County. Local flu level information is available on the Washtenaw County Health Department’s flu page.  

Locally, health systems are noting a wave of RSV cases and hospitalizations in children.

More information about RSV is available from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available for RSV.  

AAPS urges parents, students, and staff to get vaccinated against both the flu and COVID:

  • Flu vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 months old and older. 

  • The new bivalent COVID booster is approved for ages 5 and up.

Both vaccines are widely available in doctor’s offices, drug stores, and the Washtenaw County Health Department. Link to COVID vaccine and booster information here. Link to Flu vaccine information here

The Washtenaw County Health Department advises parents to do the following for students with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, congestion, sneezing): 

  1. Keep the student home from school. Do a home COVID test. If it’s positive, report the case as usual and follow isolation guidance. 

  2. If the child tests negative for COVID, but continues to have concerning respiratory symptoms, contact your health care provider. Especially for children under 5, or children with asthma, RSV can take a quick toll on children’s ability to breathe. If a child’s breathing is of concern, please seek medical attention. 

  3. If your child is diagnosed with COVID, RSV, or flu, please report their case to your school.

  4. Get yourself and your child vaccinated -Vaccines are available for COVID and flu, but not for RSV.

Questions about sending your student to school, or any of these illnesses? Contact your health care provider or your school nurse

Yours in health,

Jenna Bacolor, MPH, LMSW
Executive Director
Student and School Health and Community Division

Keely Hoffman, MSN, RN
AAPS Lead School Nurse