American Family Care Shares Tips to Reduce Incidence of Infection

SPRINGFIELDDuring the holiday season, Massachusetts braces for more than just winter weather. Since busy shopping venues and holiday gatherings increase the likelihood of transmission of the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses, Dr. Andrew Koslow, associate medical director of American Family Care (AFC) for Massachusetts, offers tips to help local residents reduce their risks.

“Remain vigilant in terms of vaccines, hand washing, and infection control, especially during the higher-risk winter months,” Koslow said, adding that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the annual flu vaccine, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an updated 2023-24 COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the RSV virus can be serious for infants and older adults. Koslow encourages talking to a healthcare professional about the RSV vaccine for people ages 60 and over, women who are pregnant, and infants and children under age 2.

“Talk to a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns about these or other vaccines, such as the pneumonia vaccine,” he added. “They can make recommendations based on your age and personal medical history.”

Koslow also provided these reminders to reduce the spread of infections:

• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for two minutes and dry them thoroughly;

• Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, aches, chills, or fatigue, which are common to all of these respiratory viruses; and

• Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and faucets.

The medical providers at AFC Springfield and AFC West Springfield offer convenient, walk-in care seven days a week for patients of all ages. Services include urgent care for illnesses, sprains, and strains; stitches for minor cuts and lacerations; flu vaccines and testing; diagnostic rapid tests and antigen tests for COVID-19; physicals; and on-site X-rays.