As we gather for the holidays this year, it’s wise to note that spotlight-hogging COVID-19 is not the only virus circulating; the flu, RSV, and other culprits as well are able to cause serious illness, or worse, among the young and old alike. Basics prevention efforts still make a difference: wash hands often, stay home when sick, cover your cough, try to sidestep people who are coughing or sniffling; these are great ways to keep everyone healthy during the holidays.
To help prevent RSV, the flu, and COVID individuals should continue to consciously practice preventative measures by following the 3C’s-
Clean – wash your hands
Cover- cover your cough and sneeze
Contain- contain your germs- stay home if you are sick
Additionally, remember everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, and it is not too late to get yours. Historically, flu peaks in our area in January and February. Additionally, getting a COVID vaccine continues to be the best way to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.
Start with children: It’s so important that infants and children are up to date on routine immunizations. Everyone older than 6 months is eligible for flu and COVID vaccines, which help reduce the chance of becoming infected, and significantly reduce the likelihood of getting severely ill from these infections.
Hospitals, including emergency departments are under significant strain right now given the high volume of respiratory infections circulating in our communities. Reducing severe illness via vaccination would help preserve these resources for diseases that cannot be prevented by vaccines.
Involve the adults: Respiratory viruses, the flu, RSV and COVID, can spread very efficiently with households. The more household members who are up to date on flu and COVID vaccines, the lower the chances of presenting those viruses into a household.
The same applies to gatherings of families and friends. Individuals with a compromised immune system, and/or medical conditions which put them at increased risk for severe infection, and infants too young to be immunized are vulnerable to these infections. Vaccination of the people they come into close contact with will help protect them, as well as the individuals who are vaccinated.
The Knox County Health Department offers flu and COVID vaccines by appointment only. The cost for the flu vaccine is $35, $70 for high-dose and Medicaid, Medicare, cash, check, and credit card are accepted.
Health Department staff will be practicing masking and social distancing during your visit and all patients are being asked to wear face coverings as well.
If you have any questions about RSV, seasonal flu or COVID or would like to make an appointment, call us at 309-344-2224.