MCHENRY COUNTY, IL — The McHenry County Department of Health is urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses this fall.

Respiratory illnesses, including influenza, COVID-19 and RSV, are expected to rise this fall. The McHenry County Department of Health is urging the public to take proactive measures to protect themselves and the community against these common illnesses, according to a news release Monday from the health department.

Respiratory illnesses primarily affect the respiratory system, including the lungs and airways, leading to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. These conditions can range from mild discomfort to severe respiratory distress.

To minimize the spread of these illnesses, health officials urge residents to follow these guidelines:

  • Wash hands frequently: Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of germs. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public places or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose: When coughing or sneezing, always use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose. Dispose of used tissues properly and wash your hands promptly.
  • Stay home when ill: If you are feeling unwell, with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it's crucial to stay home. Rest and isolation help prevent the spread of illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact: Maintain physical distance from individuals who are displaying symptoms of respiratory illnesses. Steer clear of close contact, including hugging and shaking hands.
  • Clean and disinfect: Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, and school. High-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, and countertops should be a priority.
  • Get vaccinated: When vaccines become available for respiratory illnesses, ensure that you and your loved ones are up-to-date with immunizations. Vaccines are a vital tool in reducing the severity of illness and preventing its spread.

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