With a small uptick in indicators of COVID-19 transmission the past two weeks, the L.A. County Health Department encourages residents to plan and prepare for this winter’s respiratory virus season.
By News Desk
This year, winter Respiratory Virus (RSV) transmission began increasing in late September, and there was an increase in flu transmission starting in late October. All three viruses, COVID, RSV and FLU, are circulating at the same time, and beginning to increase simultaneously. This is what is described as the ‘tripledemic’ and why preparing for the winter respiratory virus season is so important.
There is a greater chance for a strain on the county’s health care system, as more individuals may need to seek medical care from providers all within the same period.
Keep vaccine up to date
The best course of action is to maximize protection against severe illness by ensuring vaccines are up to date. For people 6 months and older, an annual flu and, regardless of past vaccination status, the updated (2023-2024 formula) COVID-19 vaccine is recommended. People who are pregnant, those with very young children and people over 60 years old should speak to their provider about the RSV vaccine. In most cases, multiple vaccines can be administered at the same time.
Stay home when sick
To help minimize the spread of illness in the community, people should stay home when they feel sick or are exhibiting symptoms, including a fever, cough, or sore throat, and test to detect a possible COVID-19 infection early. COVID-19 tests are free at many sites throughout the county and information is available at ph.lacounty.gov/COVIDtests. Treatments for COVID-19 and flu are routinely available with a prescription and can help to prevent severe illness, especially for those who are at high risk.
Paxlovid: Adults and children 12 years and older who test or are suspected positive for COVID and have underlying health conditions or factors that may result in more severe illness from COVID-19, are eligible to take Paxlovid, which must be started within five days of symptom onset. Public Health encourages everyone to speak with their provider about Paxlovid if they test positive or to call the Public Health Call Center at 1-833-540-0473, open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for free telehealth services and a prescription.
Tamiflu: If a person has respiratory symptoms and is testing negative for COVID-19, it is possible that they have a flu infection and anti-viral treatments are also available with a prescription from a provider. Oseltamivir, available under the trade name Tamiflu, is approved for treatment of flu in adults and children 14 days old and older.
Seek medical care
People who are 65 years old and older, under 5 years old, pregnant, or have underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or obesity, are at higher risk for complications and should seek medical care if they feel ill.
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