As the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, infectious diseases can be a serious threat to our health and wellbeing. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones during a pandemic or infectious disease outbreak.
Tips for avoiding viruses
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available, direct the cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow, not into your hands.
- Wash your hands often to protect against germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs, then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious foods and avoid smoking.
- Follow guidance from local health departments or visit www.cdc.gov.
- Keep an emergency contact list for family, friends or others who might need help.
The CDC is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. A small number of cases have been reported in Kansas and Missouri. View a map of monkeypox cases.
Locally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is distributing monkeypox information. Vaccine is available. The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department has monkeypox vaccine information, including a sign-up form.
The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox is rarely fatal and its symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. Visit the CDC for examples of monkeypox rash and a list of symptoms.
Monkeypox spreads through close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can become infected. Visit the CDC to learn more about how monkeypox spreads and how to prevent infection. If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
The Kansas City metro area is still seeing new cases of COVID-19 every week. The preventive actions you take are more important than ever as we work together to stop the spread. So what can you do?
- GET A VACCINE — Vaccine distribution in the Kansas City metropolitan region is well under way. More >
- WEAR A MASK — Wearing a mask properly is a proven strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19. More >
- KEEP YOUR DISTANCE — Staying a safe social distance apart makes it harder for virus droplets to move from one person to another. More >
- WASH YOUR HANDS – Washing with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds kills the virus. More >
- AVOID CROWDS — Weigh the risks before attending any gathering or event where you might not be able to keep a safe social distance from others. More >
- GET TESTED — If you have symptoms, get tested. If you have been near someone who has COVID-19, get tested — even if you don’t have symptoms. More >
- FOLLOW LOCAL GUIDELINES — Do your part to protect your health, your family and your community by following guidelines established by local health departments and public officials. More >
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
The CDC is sharing information about flu vaccines and the 2022-23 flu season.
There are extra steps you can take during cold and flu season to prevent illness:
- Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine during flu season, ideally by the end of October. Vaccination of people at higher risk of developing serious flu complications is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
People at higher risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant people, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you’re sick or have flu-like symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.
- If you are sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.