Many of the most common infectious diseases tend to peak during the fall and winter months. COVID-19
continues to spread, influenza season is beginning, and RSV activity is increasing nationwide and in Iowa.
Norovirus, the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in the U.S, also peaks in colder months.
Thankfully, there are several actions everyone can take every day to help prevent many of these diseases at once!
Important examples include:
• Stay home if you are sick.
• Clean high touch surfaces in your home frequently with household disinfectants.
• Practice hand hygiene frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve, not a hand.
• Avoid gatherings if you or your children are ill.
• Keep children home from daycare or school who have fever, especially with a cough, difficulty breathing,
or shortness of breath, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat, until they are fever-free for 24 hours
without medications that reduce fever.
Staying up to date on your vaccines – both a yearly influenza vaccine and an updated COVID-19 vaccine – is the
best way to make sure you and your family are protected. These vaccines are safe and effective, lower the risk of
illness, and protect against severe complications. There are no vaccines available to prevent RSV, although multiple
products are in late stages of clinical development. RSV prevention primarily means practicing basic hygiene.
Iowans should not visit the Emergency Department for cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, ear infections, minor
burns or injuries, sprains and strains, rash, or other skin irritations. Contact your pediatrician or health care
provider if you or a loved one needs medical care. Your provider can offer advice on whether your child needs to
be evaluated in person, tested for COVID-19 or influenza, and the best location for care.
As a reminder, antibiotics will not treat colds, influenza, most sore throats, bronchitis, and many sinus and ear
infections. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the U.S., and the main cause is the misuse of antibiotics.
Antibiotics will cure bacterial infections, such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, or whooping cough – but
not the viruses on the rise right now.
To find a vaccine provider, visit www.vaccines.gov.