‘Tripledemic’ impacts San Juan Regional Medical Center

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FARMINGTON, N.M. – Influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 are on the rise across the United States, and San Juan County is not immune to this surge in respiratory viruses.

“We are definitely experiencing the full wrath of the tripledemic,” Brad Scoggins, a pediatrician at San Juan Regional Medical Center, said.

Dr. Scoggins added there is one virus that’s the most predominant in pediatrics.

“We are seeing RSV, and you hear a lot of talk about an immune deficiency over the last couple of years with kids, not having caught the illnesses they ‘should’ have had.”

That is reportedly leading to more illnesses.

“Because they don’t have the immunity were seeing probably more severe illness earlier than we have seen in prior years, so we have a lot of patients on high-flow nasal cannula therapy, it means they are of high acuity, that means they take a lot more away in the way of nursing support,” Scoggins said.

That can be tough for a hospital on the edge of being full.

“Most days we are running very close to what would be our capacity, and mostly it’s from nursing shortages and nursing staff, lack of availability, and of course, our staff gets sick too,” Scoggins said.

Dr. Scoggins added that getting sick is bound to happen.

“There is no way to prevent getting sick, OK, I think that is something we are having to learn a very hard way coming out of the pandemic is once you live around other people you are probably going to get sick.”

Especially when it’s airborne.

“You can walk through a cloud, that you didn’t know that was there if somebody coughed or sneezed in a grocery store aisle 24 hours ago those droplets stay suspended in the air for up to 24 hours in a dry climate.”

But what you can do is be prepared with four steps.

“An adequate amount of sleep should be at the top of the list and that will vary by age, getting plenty of exercise, a good, varied diet with vegetables and fruit, and finally, hydration, I would definitely go out of your way to stay hydrated.”

Dr. Scoggins noted that parents should know that most of the time RSV in the average healthy child is a bad cold, and not usually something that requires hospitalization.