January 31, 2024
MCHD working hard to stem spread of respiratory viruses
MOBILE, Ala. — In the latest data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, the percentage of emergency department visits reporting symptoms of a respiratory virus was 7.05 percent. This represents an increase from the previous week when it was 6.61 percent.
From those newest figures, influenza made up 4.45 percent of the cases. Next was COVID-19 at 2.31 percent and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) at 0.29 percent.
In response, the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) has been working extra hard to make sure its Family Health primary care facilities are as safe as possible for both its patients and its staff. To accomplish this, members of the maintenance team have been visiting the different health centers after closing to reinforce the daily sanitizing.
“We began the campaign about three weeks ago when we started seeing a rise in flu cases,” said Michael Seback, who oversees MCHD’s Project Management and Facilities department. “We will continue until we see a significant decline in the flu and these other symptoms we witness being experienced.”
The maintenance team has been using Purell Foodservice Surface Sanitizer to provide the extra cleaning. “This is the same product we used during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Seback said. “It also fights against Influenza A, Rhinovirus, Whooping Cough, Salmonella, Staph, E. coli, and other pathogens.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu viruses are relatively fragile. So, standard cleaning and disinfecting practices such as those being carried out by the MCHD staff are sufficient to remove or kill the viruses.
For the first time in U.S. history, vaccines for all three major respiratory viruses are available.
“The treatment of many of the viral respiratory illnesses are supportive in nature, cough, decongestants, and anti-fever medications or simply rest and hydration,” said Dr. Michaels. “Also, minimize other causes through annual flu and COVID-19 vaccinations and for those at risk getting the new RSV vaccination.”
Dr. Michaels goes on to encourage social distancing, hand washing, cough etiquette, and the use of facial coverings as dictated by their overall health. To find a location to get your flu or COVID-19 shots, visit https://www.vaccines.gov. For the RSV vaccine, please reach out to your provider or pharmacy.