Coping with Respiratory Illness Season | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

This year’s annual winter respiratory illness season looks like it will be serious. Cases of COVID, flu and RSV are rising. All three illnesses are serious for pregnant people, older adults, and immunocompromised people of all ages. Flu and RSV can be serious in babies and young children. Most people will recover on their own but bad respiratory illness seasons can overwhelm hospitals. 

Spreads through droplets in the air
Can live on hard and soft surfaces and spread by touching these surfaces
A vaccine is available
Can be higher risk for pregnant, older adults, and immunocompromised people
Can be higher risk for babies and children

Preventing illness

The steps that we have been taking during the pandemic are still our best protection against these illnesses. To help keep kids in school, prevent missing work or gatherings, and keep our hospitals running smoothly, everyone should:

  • Stay home when you’re sick. Watch for symptoms, especially if you have been around someone who is sick.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that get touched a lot, like doorknobs, phones, and tv remotes.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Get a flu shot every year, and a COVID-19 and booster as recommended. 

More ways to protect the community

During respiratory illness season we suggest additional precautions such as:  

  • Delaying visits with people who are at higher risk for severe disease, or add layers of protection such as masks and physical distance when you are around them.
  • Holding smaller, outdoor gatherings.
  • Wearing a mask indoors or in crowds.
  • Opening windows and doors for improved ventilation.

For people who are immunocompromised or at higher risk for severe disease

If you are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, flu, or RSV, contact your provider. If you don’t have a provider, call 211 for help finding one. 

A provider may recommend that you wear a mask or take other precautions. They can help you decide if you need to get tested and make a plan for treatment if you get sick.  

If you get sick

Most people recover from respiratory illnesses on their own. Stay home and do the things you usually do to feel better: sleep, rest, drink plenty of fluids. 

Learn more about symptoms and emergency warning signs for Flu, COVID-19, and RSV.

When can you be around others?

People can generally return to work, school, and other activities when all of the following are true:

  • They have been without a fever for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Their symptoms are definitely better.
  • They are eating and drinking well.
  • Their runny nose and cough are mild enough that they can participate in activities and keep their hands clean.

Consider wearing a mask until your runny nose and cough are gone.

If you are sick but can’t stay home

  • Wear a well-fitting mask.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Keep some distance from others if you can.
  • Improve room ventilation around others, for example by opening a window.

It can help reduce the stress of the season by getting ready before you get sick.

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