Q&A RSV, flu and COVID in King County: What should I know?

In the Fall and Winter months there is often a rise in respiratory viruses. This Fall (2022) there have been many RSV and flu cases requiring emergency room visits – especially for young children. Health clinics might also see more COVID cases and hospitalizations in the winter as people gather indoors and new COVID variants spread. These diseases can make young children, older adults, and other vulnerable people very sick, and overload hospitals and clinics.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads every winter. Anyone can get RSV, but in 2022 we’re seeing a lot of cases in young children. For healthy adults and older children RSV can feel like a cold, with symptoms like runny nose, less appetite, coughing, and fever. But it can be a very serious illness for babies, older adults, and others.

The Seattle and King County Department of Public Health has put together an informative slide deck in eighteen languages. The deck Includes information about RSV, flu and COVID in King County, what to look for and how to prevent illness.

These slides can be shared in waiting rooms, at community centers, and in other places where people gather. Slides are available in the following languages:
• አማርኛ (Amharic)
• العربية (Arabic)
• 简体字 (Chinese – Simplified)
繁體字 (Chinese – Traditional)
• دری (Dari)
• English
• Français (French)
• 日本語 (Japanese)
• ភាសាខ្មែរ (Khmer)
• 한국어 (Korean)
• KajinM̧ajeļ (Marshallese)
• ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi)
• Русский (Russian)
• Af Soomaali (Somali)
• Español (Spanish)
• Wikang Tagalog/Filipino (Tagalog/Filipino)
• ትግርኛ (Tigrinya)
• Українська (Ukrainian)
• Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

sailboat in puget sound waters

Poor Air Quality in Puget Sound: Information and Resource Links

sailboat in puget sound waters
Photo by Michael Li (cc license).

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems including trouble breathing, coughing , headaches, chest pain. 

Children, pregnant women, older adults, those with asthma, heart disease and other chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to these health impacts.

Precautions to Avoid Negative Health Outcomes 

These include: staying indoors (if possible), limiting outdoor physical activity (such as running, walking, bicycling, sports), closing windows at home, using an indoor air filter, keeping windows closed while driving and wearing a N95 or N100 rated filtration mask (available at hardware home repair stores). 

Smoke from wildfires increases health risks for sensitive groups, including children and babies, especially those who also have asthma or other health conditions.  Pregnant women, people over 65, and those who have heart, lung and other health conditions are also at higher risk.

Please check Puget Sound Clean Air Agency website frequently for updates on air quality. Air quality can change quickly, depending on the wind.

Breathing smoky air can cause a wide range of symptoms from watery eyes and coughing to chest pain and asthma attacks. If you or someone you know is experiencing serious symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, or call 911 if these symptoms become life-threatening. 

Recommendations from Washington State Department of Health

  • Close windows and doors as much as possible. Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it is hot, and set your AC to recirculate. If you do not have AC and it is too hot to stay home, go to a place with AC such as a mall, library, or community center in your city.
  • Everyone should stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activities outside.
  • Keep indoor air clean.  
  • Don’t add to indoor air pollution. Don’t use candles, food boilers, incense, or gas stoves. 
  • Don’t vacuum as vacuuming stirs up additional particles into the air.   
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter,but do not use an air cleaner that produces ozone.
  • Consider creating your own air purifier with a box fan if you cannot afford an air cleaner.
  • Make sure everyone drinks plenty of water.

Information flyers in 10 languages

Resources for everyone as well as specific information for people who are especially sensitive to smoke (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Ukrainian, Vietnamese) 

Information Flyers in 10 Languages on Air Quality

How People with Health Conditions can Protect Themselves from Wildfire Smoke

English
Spanish Translation
Video highlighting how pregnant women and children can protect themselves from wildfire smoke.

For more Information on Health Effects from Wildfires

Frequently Asked Questions on Smoke from Fires