Beebe Healthcare Urges Flu, COVID-19 Vaccinations During Active Respiratory Illness Season
After delivering more than 10,300 public flu vaccinations between September and November throughout the Beebe Healthcare system, clinicians are urging the public to consider receiving a vaccine and take additional measures to protect themselves.
With a fast start to respiratory illness season between flu and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), along with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, epidemiologists are forecasting the possibility of high spread of the viruses this fall and winter. Delaware already has more confirmed cases of flu (2,944 as of 11/26) than last year in total – this doesn’t include rapid tests not reported to public health. The best protection from severe illness from these respiratory viruses is a combination of vaccination and infection prevention practices.
“I urge fellow community members to consider taking steps to protect themselves from any one of these viruses,” said Dr. Bill Chasanov, Infectious Disease Physician and Chief Population Health Officer. “If you haven’t already, receiving your flu vaccine and bivalent COVID-19 booster are proven to reduce the chances of severe illness.
“Additionally, practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding public areas if you are not feeling well, and considering wearing a mask are all good options to protect yourself, family, and your community this fall and winter.”
While Beebe’s free flu clinics have concluded, the Delaware Division of Public Health has created a webpage with important flu information and a “find a flu shot” page.
While vaccines are available for flu and COVID-19, there is not one available for RSV. For most adults, a case of RSV is mild, but for children under 2 and older adults, it can cause more severe illness which may lead to hospitalization. Across the country, hospitals and states have reported a higher number of RSV cases and hospitalizations this fall comparted to recent years.
“This is why it is so important to take simple steps to protect one another,” Dr. Chasanov said. “We can all limit the spread of these viruses by working together.
When to visit the ER
It is not uncommon for emergency departments to get crowded during respiratory illness season. Beebe’s emergency services are always available for those in need. Beebe’s Walk-In Care and Primary Care Providers are also here for community needs. Here are some symptoms to look for that could be a sign of an emergency:
- Trouble breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abdominal or flank pain
- High fever
- Fainting, dizziness or loss of consciousness
- Back pain
- Stroke symptoms