TRENTON– The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is warning residents to take care as respiratory infections like Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) continue to proliferate as holiday festivities begin this week with Thanksgiving.
The flu season started earlier this year in New Jersey and nationwide. The state also has a respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, enterovirus, and COVID-19. NJDOH tracks hospitalizations and pediatric intensive care units daily.
“As New Jerseyans begin to gather with friends and family for the upcoming holidays, it’s crucial for everyone to continue taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said Governor Phil Murphy.
Residents may work together for a better and healthier holiday season by getting immunized, practicing excellent hand and respiratory hygiene, and staying home when sick.
“Getting an annual flu vaccination can help protect everyone, particularly vulnerable populations like younger children and older seniors, from influenza,” stated Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The Department is actively monitoring these respiratory infections and their impact on hospitals and EDs.”
The CDC also advises everyone to get their age-appropriate COVID-19 immunizations. 6 months and older can get a COVID-19 primary series, and 5 years and older should get the updated booster at least 2 months after their primary series or last monovalent booster.
RSV, which circulates throughout the state from late fall to early spring, produces cold symptoms in adults and older children and wheezing and pneumonia in younger children and newborns.
It can potentially worsen the infection. RSV can be dangerous, especially for infants and older adults.
Rhinovirus and enterovirus infections in the upper airways and lungs cause wheezing and breathing problems in many children in the state.
If their child has rapid breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath; ribs pushing in with each breath; is very unwell or drowsy; poor eating; dehydration; vomiting for more than 24 hours; or fever in a child under 12 weeks, they should call their pediatrician.
These are warning indicators, but please see your doctor for any serious symptoms.
Washing hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, coughing into elbows or sleeves and getting flu and COVID-19 shots are precautions.
High-risk patients and visitors should use a high-quality, well-fitting mask to limit respiratory virus spread. Patients should stay home.
Flu immunization reduces millions of illnesses and doctor visits. Despite these benefits, 57% of people (18 and older) and 67.7% of children (6 months–17 years old) in New Jersey received a flu vaccine in 2021–2022.
Healthcare providers, pharmacies, FQHCs, and municipal health authorities offer flu shots. Insurers pay for most immunizations.
NJDOH’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program (VPDPVaccines )’s for Children program provides free vaccines to eligible children through participating healthcare providers. Uninsured and underinsured adults receive immunizations through the 317-funded VPDP.
The NJ Vaccine Appointment Finder or the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center can locate COVID-19 vaccination sites (855-568-0545). COVID-19 vaccines are free regardless of insurance.
Commissioner Persichilli said vaccines are safe and effective. To ensure a safe and healthy Christmas season, we urge New Jerseyans to get all recommended vaccines.
To defend against COVID-19 variations, we recommend the new booster for all New Jerseyans 5 and older.