From Baptist Health Madisonville

While the new strain of coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan is making headlines, there are many serious respiratory illnesses to watch for right here at home including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and pneumonia.

Symptoms of these illnesses, such as a cough, runny nose, and fever, might start out as mild, but in the very young, older adults, or people with weakened immune systems, they can develop into a severe illness.

So, how do you protect yourself from these diseases?

Germs that lead to these respiratory illnesses can be spread to others up to 6 feet away through droplets made from coughing or sneezing.

“Avoid contact with those who are sick,” said Dr. Diana Nims, Director of the Family Medicine Residency at Baptist Health Madisonville. “And avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Also, clean and disinfect surfaces and items that might be contaminated with germs, including high traffic items like faucets, door handles, phones, remotes and counter tops.”

If you think you have a respiratory illness, avoid contact with others, except to seek medical care.

“Those at risk of complications should visit a clinic or urgent treatment center right away,” stated Nims. “That includes people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic health problems. I also encourage you to put on a mask while you are in the waiting areas of these clinics to avoid further spread.”

The Family Medicine Residency Clinic has same day appointments for patients of all ages, including pediatric patients and they offer evening appointments from 5-7 pm on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Appointments can be made by calling 270.825.6680.

For information about Baptist Health Madisonville clinics, urgent treatment centers, and other facilities, go to