Kern Public Health Department encourages the community to take preventative measures against Winter viruses

December 2, 2022 /

During the winter season, many people are starting to get sick and the public health department is seeing an influx of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and COVID-19. The Kern County Public Health Department encouraged community members in a press release to take preventative measures. 

“There is no better time than now to get started on your road to better overall health,” says Brynn Carrigan, Director of Public Health.  “Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting good sleep reduces your risk of obesity and chronic diseases and enhances your immunity.”

They recommended the following tips in the release: 

  • Wash hands often
  •  Avoid being around people who are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people at higher risk for RSV are infants, young children, and older adults. Symptoms of RSV according to the CDC include: 

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

There is no cure for RSV however most infections go away after a week or two according to the CDC. To take care of RSV patients it is advised to manage their fever with over-the-counter medication but not give aspirin to children, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, and talk to a healthcare provider before giving nonprescription medication to children. 

Along with COVID and RSV, many people are getting the flu. This is what is called the ‘tripledemic’. The public health department advises everyone to assess their symptoms to decide if they should seek emergency help or visit their primary care physician. 

Ken Keller, President/CEO of Memorial Hospital, and BJ Predum, President/CEO of Mercy Hospital, gave an example of which symptoms require emergency attention. 

“If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency such as bleeding that will not stop, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, severe pain or trauma, or a change in mental status such as confusion, get to an emergency room immediately. For mild, cold-like symptoms, a visit to a primary care physician’s office, urgent care, or telehealth provider. And the best defense against any respiratory illness is to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, stay home when you’re sick and get the flu and COVID vaccines.”  

Aaron Duncan, Fire Chief & Director of Emergency Services asked community members to help local emergency responders by knowing when to call 911. 

“Your Kern County firefighters and dispatchers are always ready to answer the call for emergency services. There is an important distinction that happens for actual emergencies versus a call for medical advice,” said Duncan in the release. “Just as you rely on your local emergency responders, we rely on our citizens to understand and adhere to this distinction. Please take the time to understand when, and when not, to call 911. This seemingly small act could mean the difference between life and death.”

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JaNell Gore

Ja'Nell Gore is a student at Cal State Bakersfield. In addition to writing for Kern Sol News she is a poet who loves any chance she has to perform and be with her community.