Reducing Respiratory Viral Infections this Winterarticle describes how elderly residents, particularly those with multiple medical conditions, are at risk for developing serious illnesses or exacerbations of their other illnesses, being hospitalized, or even dying. Increases in Influenza, RSV, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses are occurring in the general population, with some hospitals in communities nearing or at capacity. There are several key steps to help reduce the impact on residents from viral infections this winter.
- Get your flu shot and COVID-19 bivalent booster.
If residents get a breakthrough infection, these vaccines will significantly reduce their risk of getting severely ill, hospitalized, or dying. Learn more at https://getvaccinated.us/.
- Start antiviral treatment as soon as symptoms develop.
Effective antiviral treatments are available for both Influenza and COVID-19. Start residents on antivirals early in their course of infection; even if they are vaccinated or symptoms seem mild, because they greatly reduce the risk of getting seriously ill, hospitalized, or dying. Talk to your Medical Director or Consultant Pharmacist about how to get residents started on these medications quickly.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Staff and family members should stay home and/or postpone visits with loved ones if they are feeling sick with what could be a respiratory virus until symptoms have resolved.
- Follow CDC guidance on infection control for respiratory viruses.
The spread of respiratory viruses can be reduced by following core infection prevention & control practices. CDC has specific guidance including for Influenza and COVID-19.
- Maintain airflow in your building.
Check that your HVAC is working properly and using appropriate filters. Also, the EPA has a fact sheet?? with strategies to improve indoor air quality.
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