We are heading into the season when many respiratory illnesses like influenza, RSV and COVID-19 spread throughout the community. We can all take simple steps to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our community healthy.
Get vaccinated. An annual influenza vaccine and the updated COVID-19 vaccine provide the best protection against illness and severe infections, including hospitalization and death. Search VaccineFinder.org for nearby vaccine locations. This year, older adults may also be eligible for a vaccine that protects against RSV, and infants can receive monoclonal antibodies for protection against RSV. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about these options.
We can also stop the spread of germs by washing hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching our eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, covering coughs or sneezes, staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with sick people. While viruses are circulating, consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor places, especially if you or someone you live with is at higher risk for serious illness.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle to strengthen immunity. You can better equip your body to help fight viruses by eating well, being physically active, getting enough sleep and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use.
Swim beach monitoring
Planning a trip to a local lake? Be sure to check for water quality advisories first. Public Health monitors water quality at designated swim beaches throughout the summer to determine if the water is safe for swimming and recreation.
Routine water samples are collected from Vancouver Lake, Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake to test for bacterial contaminants. Water samples are also collected from waterbodies with harmful algal blooms to determine if toxins are present. Advisories are posted if water is unsafe for swimming and recreation.
Visit the Current advisories webpage for the latest information.
Breathing smoke from wildfires isn’t healthy for anyone. But some people, such as children, older adults, pregnant people and people with heart and lung conditions, are more likely to have health problems when the air quality isn’t good.
Visit the Smoke from wildfires webpage to learn more about how wildfire impacts health, how to prepare for smoky days, and steps to take to protect your health when the air is smoky.
Portable air cleaners with HEPA filters can improve indoor air quality. But, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, consider making your own box fan filter.
PFAS in drinking water
Per– and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a large group of human-made chemicals used for decades in many products, such as water-resistant clothing, non-stick cookware, and cleaning products. When PFAS are made, used, disposed of, or spilled near water sources, like rivers, aquifers or wells, the chemicals can get into drinking water.
Scientists are still studying how PFAS affect people’s health. Some PFAS can build up in people’s bodies and, over time, may cause harmful health effects. Visit the PFAS in drinking water webpage to learn more.
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