RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia healthcare neighborhood is encouraging Virginians who haven’t achieved so to get vaccinated towards the flu, get vaccinated or boosted towards COVID-19, and to take private well being and security precautions as we enter what could possibly be a very intense flu and respiratory sickness season. This 12 months’s flu season is already displaying early, regarding indicators that it might be worse than lately. There are additionally growing numbers of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) instances, which can trigger critical sickness and hospitalization in kids and older adults. If these developments proceed, this might pressure healthcare programs in some communities. Virginia docs, hospitals, and different healthcare suppliers are already being inundated with a surge of sick sufferers looking for care, filling hospital beds, and in lots of instances requiring longer hospital stays. 

Data from Virginia hospitals and public well being surveillance info from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) counsel that the Commonwealth faces the prospect of a very difficult flu and respiratory illness season all through this fall and winter. Emergency division and pressing care clinic visits involving affected person diagnoses of RSV have quadrupled since early September and stay considerably elevated. Visits for flu-like sickness are additionally rising – for the week ending November 5, such visits are no less than 4 instances greater than in the identical week for every of the previous 4 years. In Virginia, we’ve got seen a 41 p.c improve in flu-like sickness and an total 18 p.c improve in respiratory sickness from the week prior. Virginia Immunization Information System information from July 1-November 9, 2022 signifies that flu vaccination uptake in kids youthful than 12 is decrease this 12 months as in comparison with the identical time intervals in the course of the earlier three years.

These situations are occurring whilst COVID-19 stays a major concern – the federal public well being emergency relating to coronavirus was not too long ago prolonged and Virginia hospitals proceed to deal with a mean of 478 hospital inpatients every day. The continued presence of COVID-19 mixed with the fast unfold of flu and different respiratory sickness poses a heightened danger of creating medical problems from COVID-19 or the flu amongst older Virginians, people with weakened immune programs or different medical situations, and youthful kids.
The vacation season is simply across the nook. To defend your self and your loved ones towards flu, RSV, and different respiratory diseases, the healthcare neighborhood recommends taking the next steps:

·     Make an appointment to get a flu shot as quickly as potential. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that “everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions.” Flu pictures can be found at physician’s workplaces, industrial pharmacies, native well being districts, and neighborhood well being clinics, amongst different places. Find out the place you may get a flu shot in your neighborhood right here.

·     Get vaccinated towards COVID-19 when you have not achieved so already. Get boosted when you have been vaccinated nevertheless it has been no less than two months since your final vaccine dose . Bivalent booster doses can be found for vaccinated people 5 and older. VDH advises mother and father to debate this feature with their little one’s healthcare supplier. Find out the place you may get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster in your neighborhood by visiting or name (877) VAX-IN-VA or (877) 829-4682.

·     Parents of sick kids are inspired to maintain them dwelling from college and different actions to assist restrict the unfold of an infection. Parents with sick kids are additionally suggested to initially contact a pediatrician or household doctor for medical steerage until your little one is in medical misery, during which case looking for hospital care could also be warranted. Taking this strategy helps be sure that hospital beds and emergency departments are open and obtainable to sufferers with vital medical wants.

·     Adults who turn out to be unwell are additionally inspired to remain dwelling to restrict the chance of spreading sickness and to contact their healthcare supplier for steerage on the suitable course of therapy relying on the severity of signs and different danger elements.

·     Individuals with signs, or those that check optimistic, are inspired to contact their healthcare suppliers to find out the therapy choice that’s proper for them. This is particularly true for high-risk people. Because therapy is usually only when taken inside 5 days of the onset of signs, persons are suggested to not delay looking for medical recommendation and beginning prescribed therapy. It can be necessary to do not forget that prescriptions resembling antibiotics used to deal with bacterial infections are sometimes not acceptable or indicated for treating viral infections like flu and RSV.

·     As a routine security conduct, Virginians are inspired to clean their fingers typically with heat water and cleaning soap for no less than 20 seconds, to keep away from touching their faces with unwashed fingers, to cowl their mouths once they cough or sneeze, to restrict the time kids spend in massive group settings with different contagious people when potential, and to get examined in the event that they imagine they’ve been uncovered to sickness.

With respiratory sickness and associated hospitalizations on the rise in Virginia, getting vaccinated, taking primary well being and security steps, and looking for acceptable medical care and steerage when you turn out to be sick, are easy methods that will help you and your loved ones keep secure and wholesome this vacation season.

In addition to the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the next organizations and establishments endorse this assertion: Access Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics – Virginia Chapter, Ballad Health, Bon Secours Richmond and Hampton Roads, Carilion Clinic, Centra Health System, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, HCA Virginia, LewisGale Hospital – Alleghany, LewisGale Medical Center, LewisGale Hospital – Montgomery, LewisGale Hospital – Pulaski, Mary Washington Healthcare, the Medical Society of Virginia, the Richmond Academy of Medicine, the Richmond Ambulance Authority, Riverside Health System, Sentara Healthcare, UVA Health, Valley Health System, the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants, the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, the Virginia Association of Community-Based Providers, the Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, VCU Health, the Virginia Health Care Association-Virginia Center for Assisted Living, the Virginia Health Care Foundation, VHC Health, the Virginia Network of Private Providers, the Virginia Nurses Association, the Virginia Orthopaedic Society, the Virginia Pharmacists Association, the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association, the Virginia Public Health Association, Virginia Rural Health Association, and the Virginia Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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