Heath and Human Services Reporting Higher Illnesses Than Usual Locally and Statewide

A trio of illnesses is circulating around Martin County.  Community Health and Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties says it’s seeing high case rates of Influenza A, RSV and COVID-19.

Public Health Sanitarian, Tim Langer, said that cases of those three are actually increasing throughout the country.

He said that these illnesses, particularly influenza and RSV, are seeing higher case rates and earlier than normal.

Langer said that RSV is primarily more of a concern in infants, young children and elderly adults, though anyone can get it.  RSV is a common virus that causes inflammation of the small airways and can cause problems breathing, making it particularly worrisome in children under the age of 3.

Unlike influenza and covid, there are no vaccines for RSV and no antibiotics can be taken for it.

As for why cases of RSV and influenza are so high early in the season, Langer suspects it’s because people went for almost three years wearing masks in work and school setting to prevent the spread of COVID>

He pointed out that in winter, people gather more indoors, especially in Minnesota.

While mask mandates have long been over and restrictions almost non-existent, cases are currently up for covid, both locally and in the state.  The Omicron BA.5 variant is still the main strain circulating right now.

When it comes to preventing all three illnesses, hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes is encouraged.  Langer pointed out that influenza and covid are both contagious, so people should stay home when sick and stay away from others who are sick.  “Masking will help to reduce your risk of getting all three,” Langer said.

Of course, getting vaccinated for influenza and covid is still encouraged.  While people may still get sick, the symptoms are less severe and the likelihood of hospitalization goes down.