GALLIPOLIS — In light of recent conversations surrounding illness and viruses across the world and region, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune spent a few moments Wednesday with Gallia Health Commissioner Dr. Gerald Vallee about the importance of sanitation, hygiene and viruses the Gallia Health Department is monitoring.
“It’s probably not all flu,” said Vallee of recent reports of illness in the county. “There’s also a respiratory syncytial virus going around, RSV… The problem with that virus and coronavirus, there are no vaccines and there’s nothing that helps it. It’s you against it. Eventually you recover. It kills either the very young or very old. Anybody in between it pretty much doesn’t kill. The treatment for it is rest, good nutrition, stay hydrated and stay out of crowds. Don’t go give it to somebody else.”
Vallee said it was not uncommon for medical staff to be exposed to such illnesses.
“It’s bad if your immune system is impaired. When you’re old, your immune system wears out. When you’re young your immune system hasn’t had a chance to develop,” said Vallee. “In between, if you’re on steroids or you’ve got cancer, your immune system can be tamped down. You have to be careful to stay away from those people.”
“Ohio is kind of a central area for RSV,” said Vallee.
Gallia County Local School District closed schools Wednesday due to excessive absences and reports of illness.
The Gallia Health Department released a statement Monday in light of recent concerns with an outbreak of coronavirus in China and around the world stating that it is currently more concerned with the flu than the outbreak.
Coronavirus is considered a family of viruses and that most individuals will have a form of it at some point in their lifetime. That does not mean they will necessarily experience a form of the virus from Wuhan, China.
“To protect yourself against any virus (generally speaking) we encourage regular hand washing. In all actuality, we are more concerned with the flu than the coronavirus. That’s not saying it can’t mutate and become a much more virulent virus but until then general hygiene practices will cut down on your likelihood of transmission for every virus,” said the department in its statement.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.