Mark Patton introduced Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Amanda Irish, who spoke about the "Infectious Disease Outlook for Fall/Winter 2023-2024." "The usual suspects so far" are RSV, Influenza, Covid, and the common cold viruses and bacteria.  New data suggests Omicron (Covid) has 4 times the risk of death as influenza. She stated RSV is the leading cause of senior death. Moving indoors for school, holidays, etc. increases the risk of catching an infectious disease. Predictions can be hard to make because SARS-Cov-2 has not yet settled into a predictable seasonal pattern.
Last year RSV and the flu came earlier. The United States looks to Australia to select flu strains because flu season comes earlier there. Australia looks better this year. There is a new variant of the flu--BA623.  Masks work and getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of having a severe infection. Currently, Omicron XBB and the new EG.5 variant (Eris) along with BA.2.86 (pirola) are causing an increase in cases. BA.2.86 is spreading rapidly; however, it is unknown whether it will cause severe disease or be a dud. 
Steps people can take to stay healthy and prepare include good diet, exercise, coughing in elbow (not hand), handwashing, doing what is right for you and consider carrying a mask for use in public settings, and getting vaccinations/booster for annual influenza, Covid, and against RSV.  The influenza vaccine is the "best way to prevent infection and/or complications." Everyone > 6 months of age should get one. There will be a new Covid booster coming out in mid to late September. Fall boosters will target XBB.1.5. Health experts recommend everyone receive the Covid vaccine and/or booster. A person can get Covid with the flu. The RSV vaccine is recommended for persons > 60 years and people can catch RSV now. The RSV vaccine "protects against severe illness with 82-86% efficacy." If one does get sick, consider Remdesivir (IV) and Paxlovid should be started within 5 days of an illness if used. Also, having a pulse oximeter can help a person decide when to go to the hospital. In response to a question, Dr. Irish suggested the following can also be helpful--having a humidifier for home, vicks vapo rub, lots of fluids, Tylenol, and Motrin. She does not love Mucinex, which may cause side effects. The club thanked Dr. Irish for attending and speaking about this very important topic.
Club Secretary  Vernette Knapp called the meeting to order at 7:05 a.m. Deb Ockenfels thanked everyone for helping with the pancake breakfast. $2,164 was raised to fight polio from the pancake breakfast plus there was $3,711 raised in donations made directly to the flight. Together with the Gates Foundation match there was $17,727.70 raised. There is an event to fight polio on October 24 from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. in the MidwestOne Penthouse (the cost is $25 per person to attend). Deb also announced the food fight is officially over and everyone who donated will receive verification of the donation from CommUnity Crisis Services. The meeting adjourned at 8:00 a.m.