Affiliated Organizations
  HN Medical Partners   School of Nursing   HNH Fitness   Villa Marie Claire   Simulation Learning   Haiti Health Promise
Medical Partners Offices
Cardiovascular Specialists University Orthopaedic Pulmonary Specialists Obstetrics & Gynecology North Jersey Heart North Jersey Surgical Surgical Specialistss Primary Care Specialty Assoc. Urologic Specialties Women's Health Care

Some things are to be expected each autumn. The turning of the leaves, pumpkin spice everything and, unfortunately, respiratory viruses.

This year, three respiratory viruses– Influenza (flu), COVID, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)– are expected to affect many people. All three are highly contagious, but for the first time, vaccinations are now available for all three viruses and you can better protect yourself from serious illness.

"At this time there aren't any combined vaccines, so you may need to get each vaccine separately," says Dr. Suraj Saggar, Chief of Infectious Disease at Holy Name Medical Center. "You should discuss with a primary care physician or pharmacist the schedule that works best for you."

Most people are familiar with the flu vaccine, which is recommended for everyone 6 months or older. Flu season typically runs from October to May.

RSV may not be as well known as flu, but it can cause significant illness and hospitalization, especially among the very young, seniors, and those with chronic lung conditions. Fortunately, there is an RSV vaccination, recommended for infants up to 8 months old (entering their first RSV season), for children between 8 months and 19 months old at high risk for severe disease or severely immunocompromised, and adults 60 years old and older.

According to Dr. Saggar, "This vaccine is exciting because until now we haven't been able to protect senior adults or young infants from RSV."

A new COVID vaccine is also available. "I can't stress enough– this is a new vaccine and not just a booster," says Dr. Saggar.

The new COVID vaccine can help mitigate illness from the current omicron subvariant. COVID "boosters" from last year are no longer recommended. The updated COVID vaccine is FDA-approved for individuals ages 12 and older and authorized under emergency use for children ages 6 months to 11 years old.

Remember, in addition to getting these vaccines, there are other practical ways to protect yourself against seasonal viruses. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands regularly, and be sure you are getting adequate nutrition and sleep.

Dr. Saggar cautions against relying on remedies seen on social media, saying, "Don't believe TikTok. High doses of vitamin C or gargling with hot water and lemon won't protect you from these viruses. Get vaccinated."

Find a primary care physician at www.holyname.org or schedule a vaccination at Holy Name PharmaCare by calling 201-530-7991 or emailing pharmacare@holyname.org.