FAIRMONT – Faribault and Martin County Local Health and Human Services departments are encouraging people to say “boo” to the flu and get a flu shot before Halloween. In addition to that, we also recommend that at-risk people get vaccinated against RSV and Covid.
As children return to school and holiday gatherings begin, these illnesses are more likely to spread as people spend more time indoors and have more contact with others, said public health hygienist Tim Langer. I explained that we are entering the season.
Regarding the coronavirus, Langer said local cases continue to be confirmed, adding that the Omicron variant has changed over the past year or so.
“It still exists and can and does cause serious illness and death, but primarily in older adults and unvaccinated people.” Langer said.
He added that most people with healthy immune systems will do well if infected and only experience mild symptoms similar to a cold, but there are still severe cases across the country.
However, Langer said it is better than the original version and Delta’s version.
While there has been a lot of talk about mask mandates as cases rise again this season, Langer said his personal opinion is that mask mandates are over.
“But I think some people may want to consider wearing a mask if they are more sensitive. N95 masks can go a long way in stopping the spread of this virus.” Langer said.
Respiratory syncytial virus, commonly referred to as RSV, is a virus that can affect infants, young children, and even older adults.
“There is an effective vaccine for that virus, and it is recommended that anyone over 60 years of age receive that vaccine.” Langer said.
He said that while infants infected with RSV almost always show symptoms, this is not always the case in adults, so adults can easily spread the virus to children.
Common RSV symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. In young children, it can cause bronchitis and pneumonia.
Turning to the flu, Langer said Minnesota does not currently have many cases of the virus. But he suggested there is a vaccine for the disease and people should consider getting it.
“It’s very effective in reducing your chances of catching or transmitting the virus.” Langer said.
Because getting vaccinated too early can cause you to lose some of your immunity, experts say now is the time to get the flu vaccine to boost your body’s immunity before more cases occur in your community. Experts recommend now is a good time to get it, Langer said.
As with all vaccines, Langer acknowledged that different people may have different reactions when vaccinated.
“Symptoms are usually mild and last less than 24 hours. Some people may have a headache or body aches, but for example with the influenza virus, even if you get the vaccine you won’t get the flu. , there may be side effects.” He said.
Side effects are normal and nothing to worry about. Langer recognized that although vaccines are a nuisance, they ultimately provide protection in the long run and that many people do not have a reaction.
Vaccines for all these viruses can now be found at your local pharmacy. In the meantime, practicing good hygiene will go a long way in preventing illness.
“I think this season, people need a reminder to suppress their coughs, wash their hands, and do all the simple things we can do to prevent the spread of illness, whether it’s severe or not. Even a cold can be prevented by covering your cough and washing your hands.” Langer said.