HEALTH DISTRICT URGES PUBLIC TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AS HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES RISE
Nov. 16, 2022 – Due to a sharp increase in respiratory illness activity, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and seasonal influenza, Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) is urging the public to follow preventive measures.
Nationally, RSV is surging at unanticipated levels, consequently overwhelming hospitals and pediatric units nationally. Hospitals in central Texas have followed the trend with an early surge of severe respiratory illnesses. Many people with RSV or other respiratory illnesses will experience cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, and fever that gets better within a week or two. However, infants, people who are immunocompromised, and people living with certain chronic medical conditions may experience a severe illness that can cause difficulty breathing and hospitalization.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you or your child are having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms.
“Many people who get a respiratory illness, including infants and other children, can be diagnosed and treated by a healthcare provider without a trip to the emergency room,” said Dr. Amanda Norwood, Medical Director and Health Authority for the Williamson County and Cities Health District. “Following your healthcare provider's guidance may help avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room.”
To reduce the risk of spreading a respiratory virus, the public is urged to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover coughs and sneezes using a tissue or your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Stay home if you or your child is sick, except to get medical care.
- Don’t send a sick child to school or childcare.
- Consider wearing a mask, especially if you develop any symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough, or fever.
- Get a COVID-19 booster and flu shot.
Children under the age of 5 are especially vulnerable to developing serious complications from the flu, while older children can spread the flu to their higher-risk family members. For this reason, WCCHD recommends that all children over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine in early fall each year.
Free flu and COVID-19 vaccination options are available with or without an appointment. Visit www.wcchd.org/flu for locations and hours.
The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD), nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Williamson County. WCCHD provides critical public health services including retail food inspections, clinical services like immunizations and well-woman exams, epidemiological and emergency responses to disease outbreaks, mosquito surveillance, WIC nutrition benefits and education, and eligibility screening for the county indigent healthcare and state programs. Learn more at www.wcchd.org.