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Norwood - Local Town Pages

It’s A Winter Trifecta: Flu, Covid, & RSV

By Betsy Millane
Covid, flu, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) season is coming on strong. You’ve probably had Covid or know someone who has had it, because it’s been out there for two years, but you can catch it again and it can carry a punch! This year’s flu season promises to be a potent one, starting months before we see numbers on it. RSV has been with us always, but is hitting children and adults particularly hard this year.
What’s to be done?
Kerri McCarthy, the Executive Director of the Norwood Senior Center, is proud that the center held flu and Covid shot clinics early because she feels the early boosters and vaccinations allowed her seniors to get ahead of the outbreaks. Right now, things seem to be under control, but she warns that there may be a rise in both cases, “after the holidays, when the seniors spend time with family, young grandkids, and crowds,” which will lead to infection transmission. 
Diane Hillery, Norwood’s Public Health Nurse, said she’s seen an uptick of Covid and flu numbers for the past month and a half. When asked what the difference between the two illness is, she explained they both share symptoms of fever, cough, and runny nose, among others. If you wonder which you have, “testing will tell you.” Hillery credits the vaccinations and boosters with preventing hospitalizations. 
“People who don’t (get inoculated) could end up in the hospital,” Hillery noted. 
RSV, she explained, affects the young and the elderly. To help a child who has RSV, you can suction the mucus to clear the airways, use chest therapy, which often means holding them upright and thumping their chest, and make sure they keep up their intake of fluids. 
“It’s not too late if you haven’t gotten your shots yet,” Hillery said.
It takes two weeks for them to protect your body, but even if you do contract the flu or Covid during this time, the symptoms will be less severe. She can give these shots in the office, or go to a homebound resident. 
And it’s advised that you do. 

How can you prevent the spread of Covid or the Flu?
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued the following Mask advisory and guidance for Massachusetts residents:
Effective July 1, 2022, the Department of Public Health advises that individuals should wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home) if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease.
Prevention is always the best way to avoid Covid, the flu, or RSV.

The CDC advises:
In addition to basic health and hygiene practices, like handwashing, CDC recommends some prevention actions at all COVID-19 Community Levels, which include:
Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines
Improving Ventilation
Getting Tested for COVID-19 If Needed
Following Recommendations for What to Do If You Have Been Exposed, which includes wearing a high-quality mask when indoors around others (including inside your home) for 10 days, testing, and monitoring yourself for symptoms.
Staying Home If You Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
Seeking Treatment If You Have COVID-19 and Are at High Risk of Getting Very Sick
Avoiding Contact with People Who Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

Best advice? Keep a mask handy, wash your hands often, know the people you are socializing with, and take particular care around the youngest and oldest among us. Stay safe!