Home Health Oregon health experts urge safety amid RSV, COVID, flu ‘triple threat’

Oregon health experts urge safety amid RSV, COVID, flu ‘triple threat’


A mail carrier on his route in Portland during the pandemic, September 10, 2021 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Ahead of holiday season gatherings, Oregon health experts are urging people to take precautions amid a “triple threat” of viruses, including flu, COVID, and RSV.

Dr. Bill Messer, an associate professor of molecular biology and immunology at Oregon Health & Science University, recommends handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes to reduce the chances of getting others sick.

 “We really go back to the basics, so the basics are good cough hygiene, sneeze hygiene – sneezing into the crook of your arm – handwashing before and after meals, or any kind of social contact or social interactions will go a long way to prevent a lot of transmission of respiratory viruses and bacteria, particularly those that are spread by droplets,” Dr. Messer explained.

He also recommends keeping your hands away from your face to prevent virus transmission.

“Another thing that’s kind of the next level that we don’t always think about, keeping hands off of our eyes, out of our mouths, off of our noses, because those are where our mucus membranes are that are most susceptible to infection,” Messer furthered.

He adds that wearing masks in large gatherings such as airports, and public transportation can protect others from the viruses.

Additionally, Messer says good air circulation can act as another preventative measure to avoid getting sick.

“Back with COVID, we talked a lot about air circulation, and we did a lot of time outside. I don’t know that people need to have Thanksgiving outside on the deck anymore, but things like maintaining good air circulation in your rooms, an open window, fans, air purifiers, all keep air moving, all improve the circulation of the air in a room and decrease the chances of spread of some pathogens that really fry in rooms that are closed up and have very little air circulation,” Messer said.

The triple threat comes after the Oregon Health Authority urged parents to take precautions amid a shortage of RSV vaccines for infants.

The U.S. government is also sending out another round of four at-home COVID tests ahead of the typical surge over the holiday season, as reported by the Associated Press.

Messer recommends Americans get tested for COVID-19, especially if they’re spending the holidays with people who are more vulnerable to the virus including infants, elderly people, and people with underlying health conditions.

“It’s kind of a triple threat. None has declared itself as being the overriding triple threat, but we know from very recent experience that this holiday season is going to bring one or more of these to the surface for sure and doing everything we can to kind of limit that impact on ourselves and our family members and friends who mostly we’re seeing now over the holidays, we should be attentive to that,” Messer said.


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