12.15.22 – Respiratory Illness Prevention

Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the Health Officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. Today we’re going to talk about one of the best tools we have to prevent respiratory illness: masks. With the flu, Covid, RSV and other respiratory illnesses spreading, the CDC is recommending that people wear masks in indoor public spaces. Let’s talk about it.

Why should I wear a mask in public spaces?
Respiratory viruses, like RSV, COVID and the flu are spreading at high levels everywhere. In Maryland, our flu level is very high. Covid is still spreading. Urgent care centers and hospitals are seeing lots of people who are sick. With the holidays here, lots of people are shopping, traveling and having gatherings. To protect yourself and your loved ones, we agree with the CDC recommendation to wear a mask in public settings.

When should I wear a mask?
It’s a good idea to wear a mask if you’re:

  • In a crowded, indoor setting
  • On public transportation, like a bus or a plane
  • Around someone who’s immunocompromised
  • Around older people
  • Not feeling well or are around people who’re not feeling well OR
  • Positive for COVID or the flu

What kind of mask should I wear?
The masks that offer the best protection are high quality masks, KN95 masks or surgical masks, that fit well around your nose and mouth. You can pick up masks for free at libraries and health centers across the county, or you can buy them for a low cost in stores and online.

What else can I do?
Get your flu shot. Get your updated Covid booster shot. Stay home if you’re sick.

Show you care this holiday season. Protect yourself and your loved ones.

Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others, we’ll see you next week.

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