January 03, 2024

With COVID-19, the Flu, and RSV at High Levels, Here are Some Prevention and Treatment Tips to Stay Healthy and Safe.

With respiratory illnesses on the rise, Cambridge Public Health Department reminds residents that it’s not too late for COVD-19, flu, and RSV vaccines

It’s also important to seek treatment if you are ill.

The Cambridge Public Health Department advises residents of elevated COVID-19, flu, and RVS (Respiratory syncytial virus) activity both locally and nationally. COVID wastewater indicators are elevated nationwide and in Eastern Massachusetts. Hospital visits for respiratory illnesses are at high levels.  

Given this increase in respiratory illness activity, the health department reminds residents of the importance of both prevention and treatment. The resources currently available offer strong protection against serious illness. 



The best protection against serious illness from COVID-19, flu, and RSV is staying up-to-date on vaccinations. Make an appointment with your medical provider or pharmacy to get vaccinated, especially if you are at high risk.

Who should be vaccinated?

COVID-19: Everyone 6 months and older should receive the 2023-24 COVID vaccine that became available in September of 2023. This vaccine helps protect against the variants that are currently circulating.

Flu: Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot

RSV: CDC recommends RSV vaccines to protect adults ages 60 and older from severe RSV. To protect infants from severe RSV, CDC recommends an RSV vaccine for people who are 32–36 weeks pregnant or a monoclonal antibody given to the baby after birth. Supply chain issues have limited the supply of the monoclonal antibody product for infants, so pregnant women who are able to get the vaccine are strongly encouraged to do so. 


COVID-19: If you test positive for COVID, speak to your healthcare provider right away about treatment options. Medications, including Paxlovid, have proven to be extremely effective at preventing serious illness and deaths, and there is evidence that early treatment can help reduce the risk of long COVID.

Flu: If you get sick with flu, influenza antiviral drugs may be an option. Check with your provider right away if you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms.  

People at higher risk of flu complications include young children under 5, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant people, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

RSV: Patients with RSV require supportive care at home: good hydration and nutrition, and perhaps other medications if indicated.

As always, the health department recommends that residents monitor for symptoms of respiratory illness and stay home if they feel unwell. 

Free COVID rapid tests are available every weekday in the Cambridge Public Health Department lobby at 119 Windsor Street. Tests are also available at libraries and City Hall while supplies last.

As respiratory illness numbers rise, residents can choose to exercise caution by wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces; this type of precaution is particularly important for those at risk for serious illness.  

Questions about COVID-19? Call the COVID-19 hotline at 617-933-0797.