Take care for a healthy holiday
It’s beginning to look a lot like 2021. Like last December, just in time for holiday gatherings, Garfield County Public Health staff is seeing increases in illness. Many know people who have recently had COVID-19 or influenza, and Children’s Hospital Colorado is treating record levels of pediatric RSV (RSV symptoms and care), influenza, strep A, pneumonia, and even staph infections.
December 21, 2022
These infections were hampered in the first years of the pandemic as people took increased precautions, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Kids, especially the very young who had not been previously exposed to circulating viruses, are now being hit hard.
Other contributing factors include people not being up to date on vaccines. Two years ago, a record number of Coloradoans received a flu shot. This year, flu vaccinations have been lagging. Not a good combination as the virus is widely circulating. Flu and COVID vaccines won’t always keep people from getting sick, but they are designed to give your body a head start to fight the virus should it show up. The best way to lessen the severity of an illness is to already have a vaccine in your system. The flu vaccine is a good match this year for the strains of flu that are circulating.
Avoid spreading illness this holiday season
- Consider testing before gatherings. The federal government has made at-home COVID tests available for free again this winter. Households can order a total of four rapid tests for free at CovidTests.gov.
Test kits are also available at the Rifle and Glenwood Springs Public Health offices and Garfield County Branch Library locations.
*The state-run PCR testing location in Carbondale is being maintained through at least January 15, 2023. The official closing date has not been announced.
- If you feel like you are coming down with something, start thinking about how you can limit possible spread to others. Cover your cough, wash your hands frequently, and don’t share eating or drinking utensils with others.
- If you are sick, stay home and try to isolate yourself from others in the home.
- If someone in your home is sick, such as a child, think about keeping other children and yourself home as well.
- Consider mask-wearing or limiting your time spent in crowded places before holiday gatherings.