Respiratory Viruses and Protection in Layers

‘Tis the season… for respiratory viruses!

There is a surge of respiratory infections in Chatham-Kent right now, and we’re not just talking about the regular increase in colds and flus for this time of year.

What’s happening locally? There are increased numbers of respiratory illness-related emergency department visits, and we have an early start to the flu season with a higher than usual number of cases reported already — 60% of which are among children and youth. This is leading to our hospitals experiencing pressures like never before with increasing rates of respiratory infections like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and influenza.

So, what can you do to make sure you and your family are best protected? Well, just like you would wear layers of clothing to keep yourself warm in colder weather, it is important that you layer your protections against respiratory viruses this season.

Your layers of protection include:

  • Staying up to date on your vaccinations (COVID-19 and flu)
  • Practicing good hand hygiene by washing your hands well and often
  • Avoiding crowded indoor spaces and practice physical distancing
  • Considering masking when in indoor, public spaces
  • Screening daily for respiratory symptoms and staying home if you’re not feeling well

The more layers you use, the better protection our community will have against respiratory viruses and the less strain we will have on our local healthcare systems and those who work within them.

*Remember that young children, especially those under the age of 5 years, are at the highest risk of respiratory viruses, which can be spread to them by both adults and children. Please do your part to reduce the number of infants and children needing emergency room care and help to ease the pressures of our paediatric ICU’s and impatient wards that are currently well over-capacity.