Winter is here, and the Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit is urging the community to keep protecting themselves and their families from flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.
Now is not the time to be complacent, with cases of Influenza, COVID-19 and RSV continuing to be recorded across the Goulburn Valley region, particularly in children under five.
Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit Clinical Director Will Cross said good hygiene is key when it comes to protection against these viruses.
“The best way to help stop viruses spreading is for everyone to always practice good hygiene, especially if you have flu-like symptoms,” Dr Cross said.
“You can help stop the spread by staying at home if you don‘t feel well, covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and wearing a mask in crowded places or if you are visiting high-risk settings that have vulnerable people, such as aged care facilities or hospitals.
“Where you can, avoid contact with people who are at higher risk of getting sick, such as infants, older people and those who are immunocompromised until you feel better.”
Viral infections like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for most people, causes nothing more than cold-like virus symptoms, such as a runny nose and cough.
However, it can cause serious lung infections in babies (especially those born premature), young children with certain medical conditions, older people, or people with pre-existing lung or heart disease.
There is currently no vaccination for RSV available in Australia but staying up to date with your influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations can reduce the risk
WHAT IS RSV?
– Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that affects the lungs and airways.
– It is mostly seasonal, occurring more frequently in autumn and winter and can affect people of all ages.
– Common symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, cough, sneezing, fever, body pains, headache, and/or loss of appetite.
– Symptoms can last up to 1-2 weeks.
WHAT IS INFLUENZA (FLU)?
– It’s a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract which is spread by breathing in droplets from coughs or sneezes containing the bacteria.
– It’s a seasonal infection that occurs usually from April to September.
– Common symptoms include the sudden appearance of high fever, dry cough, body aches and fatigue.
– Symptoms can last for several weeks.
Reduce your risk
You can also help reduce the spread of viruses like flu, RSV and COVID-19 by:
– Coughing or sneezing into your elbow;
– Washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
– Letting fresh air in by opening doors and windows where possible; and
– Staying home if you are unwell.
– Get your flu vaccine
More information can be found at www.gvhealth.org.au/ publichealthunit or by contacting your local GP or pharmacist.