Respiratory illnesses are increasing rapidly this winter. They include Influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19. In recent weeks, there has been increases in activity for all three, following state and national trends. Increases in both flu and RSV activity is occurring earlier in the year than usual, and there has been a rise in local hospitalizations among children with RSV.
With the holidays approaching and indoor gatherings resuming, it is important that individuals take simple, but important steps to protect themselves, others, and especially young infants and older adults.
Get your COVID booster
You are encouraged to get your COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. You should go to your regular doctor or care provider for this. If you don't have health insurance, you can go to CVS, Walgreens or to one of our sites. While there is currently no vaccine for RSV, being infected with more than one virus can increase the risk of severe disease. Find out more about where you can go.
Get a Flu shot
This year there are special “senior” flu vaccines recommended for people ages 65 and older. Studies show they are more effective for older adults than the regular flu vaccine. COVID-19 and flu vaccines may be given together, and both vaccines are widely available across health systems, in pharmacies, and in community health clinics. Learn more here: https://sf.gov/flu-vaccines
Get Treated if you get COVID
If you get COVID, find out if you would benefit from treatment with a medicine for COVID-19, as these medicines must be started early.
Stock up on rapid tests
People with insurance are able to get at-home tests for free or be reimbursed. Contact your health provider.
Mask up when needed
Keep a well-fitted mask on hand for crowded, indoor spaces (N95, KN95, KF94 are best)
Practice good hygiene
Wash hands frequently (30 seconds, soap and water, you know the routine!), cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
If you have cold symptoms, keep your distance as much as possible, or wear a mask and wash your hands to avoid spreading germs to people at highest risk of getting sick, such as infants
Make a plan
Have a backup plan for travel, caregiving, and other responsibilities
Stay home when sick
Feeling sick? Stay home!
Make your gathering a safer one
Increase ventilation or air filtration if possible, or gather outdoors
Last updated November 21, 2022