Tennesseans Have Options For Precautions Against Respiratory Viruses

Monday, January 29, 2024 | 09:00am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding Tennesseans anytime is the right time to protect themselves and their loved ones against the worst symptoms of viral respiratory illnesses, from the common cold to influenza.

“Tennessee’s flu activity remains high,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP, said. “Just because it’s January doesn’t mean it’s too late to get a flu vaccine to help prevent getting or spreading the virus. You can get a flu vaccine anytime from your health provider or at a local health department.”

Other prevention options Tennesseans can take against respiratory viruses include avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick, staying home as much as possible if you are sick, washing your hands often with soap and water, and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue, or your arm at the elbow, when you cough or sneeze.

Respiratory illnesses often come with symptoms that may include muscle aches, fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, headaches, and stuffy or runny noses.

If you do get a respiratory illness, like the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs as treatment. In the case of influenza, antiviral treatment can make symptoms milder and shorten the time someone is sick.

Many vaccines to prevent viral respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, are available to those six months and older, and are safe, for pregnant women included, and effective against many common types of viruses. As a reminder, it is safe to get more than one respiratory disease vaccine at a time.

‘’We know vaccination is the best protection we have for many diseases, Covid and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) among many others,” Dr. Alvarado added. “Talking with a trusted health provider or primary care physician is the best way to determine the best vaccination options for you.”

Tennessee’s local health departments are great community resources for prevention and vaccination information on respiratory viruses.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to Protect, promote, and improve the health and well-being of all people in Tennessee.
Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.