Fall is coming and with it comes a number of pulmonary issues. School will be starting again, and children and young adults will once again be in congregate settings. This means, of course, that the risk of spreading any type of infectious disease goes up exponentially. Some of my concerns are for the students but others are for their families.

Many of my older patients with COPD have significant reductions in their lung function. A minor infection could be enough to flair their lung disease and send them to the hospital even the ICU. It is for this reason that I advise all of my COPD patients that are severely affected to avoid contact with young children in their family during the winter months and particularly if a local community virus outbreak is present.

During the pandemic, most people wore masks (some begrudgingly) when in the store or, once again, in congregate settings. Now our concern over mask wearing has waned. Last year our office saw very little in the way of influenza infections and I think it was in part due to the mask wearing. I also think that this may be a comeback year for the influenza virus, and we should all consider masking again if a flu epidemic breaks out.

Keeping ourselves and our families safe from some of the common virus infections is just as important as battling the Coronavirus. Remember, you have a responsibility not only to yourselves but to those around you