Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases; encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases;  
encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense 

Southwest District Health (SWDH) officials have noted an increase in the number of RSV cases in our area and encourage individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of RSV and other respiratory illnesses and to take preventive measures to keep themselves and their families healthy during the upcoming holiday season. Some hospitals and healthcare organizations around the nation report maxed out hospital capacity and overrun emergency departments due to RSV. Now is the time to take precautions and know how you can prevent becoming ill and how to protect others in your family if you do become ill.

“Case trends for RSV activity in our area will change quickly as cases usually peak between December and February,” said Josh Campbell, SWDH Family and Clinic Services Division Administrator. “We want everyone to use common sense to know when to go and when to stay home this season, especially as we enter the holidays.”

Some of the ways you can help prevent becoming ill with RSV and flu include:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently and correctly (with soap and water for 20 seconds)
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when sick
  • Consider wearing a mask if you need to be in public
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops frequently
  • Get the flu vaccine – Everyone 6 months and older are eligible for the flu vaccine
  • Practice healthy habits such as eating whole nutritious foods, exercising, and socializing

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults. Most children can be treated at home and will recover in a week or two but some individuals may be at higher risk for severe illness that could require hospitalization. Infants less than six months old, those born prematurely, children six months to 2 years of age with chronic lung or heart disease, or immunocompromising conditions, and older individuals especially over the age of 65, may be at risk of severe illness from RSV. Those with higher risk of severe illness should avoid contact with sick people or settings, such as childcare centers, where RSV may easily spread. Individuals having difficulty breathing, trouble eating or drinking due to rapid breathing, or those with worsening symptoms, should contact their healthcare provider.

RSV can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes sending virus containing droplets into the air, where they can infect a person who inhales the droplets. Direct contact with the virus can occur, for example, by kissing the face of a child with RSV. Indirect contact can occur if the virus lands on a surface, such as a doorknob or table, that is then touched by other people who touch their eyes, mouth, or nose before washing their hands. Most commonly, people with RSV are contagious for three to eight days and may be contagious 1 or 2 days before they show signs of illness. Being infected with RSV once does not make you immune and reinfection does occur.

Though there is no vaccine for RSV, flu vaccinations are available at SWDH. Call (208) 455-5300 to schedule your appointment. Join SWDH in becoming Healthier Together. Check out the programs SWDH offers to help your family be their healthiest including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at https://swdh.id.gov/healthy-living/about-contact-info/. Also, you can stay up to date with healthy living updates from SWDH when you subscribe to our every other month “Healthier Together” newsletter. Click HERE to Subscribe!

For more information, visit the below links:

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Media Contacts

Southwest District Health:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORIES LIFTED FOR HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR, BROWNLEE RESERVOIR AND LAKE LOWELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORIES LIFTED FOR HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR, BROWNLEE RESERVOIR AND LAKE LOWELL

 Southwest District Health, in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has lifted the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on August 8, 2022 for Hells Canyon Reservoir, the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on August 5, 2022 for Brownlee Reservoir, and the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on September 2, 2022 for Lake Lowell. While there may still be some ongoing cyanobacteria presence, the recreation season has ended and risk of human exposure has been greatly reduced. DEQ officials monitor cyanobacteria and associated toxins where cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABs) are present. A recent sample from Hells Canyon Reservoir on October 14th was below the human recreation threshold for microcystin. A second confirmation sample was not collected. Samples were not collected from Brownlee Reservoir or Lake Lowell.

Other blooms may exist on these waterbodies that have not been reported to DEQ or the public health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550.

It is best to avoid direct contact with water affected by a bloom. If you choose to fish in a potentially affected waterbody, wear protective clothing such as gloves or waders, and wash your hands thoroughly with clean water. There have been no reports of people becoming sick from eating fish caught during a bloom. Information about the risk of eating fish from affected waters is limited. However, fish fillets are less likely to accumulate toxins compared to other parts of the fish. If you decide to eat fish from affected waters remove the fat, skin, and organs before cooking or freezing, and only eat the muscle tissue. Avoid cutting into organs. Rinse the fillets with clean water before cooking or freezing.

Dogs are more likely to be exposed to cyanotoxins from drinking contaminated water, swallowing water while swimming and retrieving a ball or stick, and from licking cyanobacteria from their fur. Some animals will be exposed by eating mats of cyanobacteria or dead animals, such as fish, found near the bloom or by retrieving waterfowl that might have cyanobacteria on their feathers after swimming through a bloom. Carry clean, potable water for your dogs to drink when recreating around a body of water with a cyanobacterial bloom and keep them on-leash if they can’t resist eating tempting items. If your dog comes into contact with suspicious water immediately wash the dog off with clean water. Call your veterinarian, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 (note there is a fee for these calls).

The public is advised to use caution as harmful blooms may still persist. Humans and their pets should stay out if in doubt to the presence of harmful blooms.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contacts:     

Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

Dani Terhaar
208.373.0274
Dani.Terhaar@deq.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:   

Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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