RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is urging Virginians to protect themselves as flu cases, viruses and hospitalizations are increasing.

VDH officials reported 29 influenza outbreaks during the week ending on Nov. 5, 2022. They also stated this year’s flu season is showing concerning signs early as Virginia hospitals are seeing a surge of sick patients and filled hospital beds. In addition, there are increasing Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases, which may cause severe illness and hospitalization in children and older adults. If these trends continue, this could strain healthcare systems in some communities, according to the VDH.

To protect yourself in a large group setting this holiday season, the healthcare community recommends taking these steps:

  • Make an appointment to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you have not done so already. Get boosted if you have been vaccinated but it has been at least 2 months since your last vaccine dose.
  • Parents of sick children are encouraged to keep them home from school and other activities to help limit the spread of infection. Parents with sick children are also advised to initially contact a pediatrician or family physician for medical guidance unless their child is in medical distress, in which case seeking hospital care may be warranted. Taking this approach helps ensure that hospital beds and emergency departments are open and available to patients with critical medical needs.
  • Adults who become ill are also encouraged to stay home to limit the risk of spreading illness and to contact their healthcare provider for evaluation, testing and/or guidance on the appropriate course of treatment depending on the severity of symptoms and other risk factors.
  • People are also encouraged to take simple but powerful prevention steps- wash their hands regularly, avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and limit the time children spend in large group settings with other contagious individuals when possible.
  • Individuals with symptoms, or those who test positive, are encouraged to contact their healthcare providers to determine the treatment option that is right for them. This is especially true for high-risk individuals

To read more about the flu season surge, click BELOW: