As we prepare to celebrate with family and friends, we have a lot for which to give thanks this season. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, there are now effective vaccines and treatments, and we understand better how to prevent most respiratory diseases.

Other respiratory diseases are on the upswing right now in Nevada County. The flu season has come early, and there is an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases. This is a virus that can cause cold-like symptoms in most adults and older children but can make it very difficult to breathe for younger children and babies.

Many of the actions we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can also prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses. We can:

  1. Get the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster that has protection against the original virus and an Omicron variant.
  2. Everyone 6 months and older can get the current flu vaccine. This year it is a good match to the influenza viruses that are circulating in the US.
  3. Stay home when sick and until there has been no fever for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.
  4. If respiratory symptoms develop, test for COVID-19, and if positive, then stay away from others in your home and call your healthcare provider to see if you qualify for medication to prevent complications of the virus.
  5. If the COVID-19 test is negative, test again in two days. If still negative, you may have a different respiratory virus, that you don’t want to spread to others. Stay home until you have no fever for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.
  6. Wear a high-quality mask when we are in crowded enclosed public spaces. These masks protect us and others who may be vulnerable.
  7. Improve ventilation in our homes and workplaces.
  8. Wash hands frequently and don’t touch our faces. RSV and influenza can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then our eyes, nose, or mouth.

The Nevada County Department of Public Health wishes everyone a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.