Doctors encourage neighbors to take precaution as respiratory illnesses are on the rise

ATLANTA — As millions of people hit the road and take to the skies for the holidays, there is a warning about the increase in respiratory illnesses from the triple-demic of influenza, COVID-19 and RSV, especially as families get together.

Cases of RSV have been climbing among children. But doctors warn about the immunocompromised and vulnerable elderly population, as millions of us hit the roads to go and see family.

Derrick Harris is headed to Memphis to see his parents and siblings for the first time in years.

“She’s cooking those sweet potato pie that I love,” said Harris.

And how sweet it will be for Harris. It’s his family’s first gathering since July 2020 when they all got together and caught COVID.

“My little sister died of COVID, so we couldn’t do the family thing. My mom said I don’t want everybody in this house, it really hurt me because we are big on family values,” said Harris.

His sister was a mother of three and just 40 years old. But now like the millions hitting the roads and flying to see loved ones, they’re willing to take the risk.

Even as doctors warn of a triple threat – COVID-19, influenza and RSV that is mostly impacting young children.

“Influenza and COVID-19 can be particularly devastating to those individuals who are immune compromised or fragile,” said Grady Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen who said they are seeing influenza patients and he is warning everyone to think about the most vulnerable.

“If you’re sick, do not go around people who are immunocompromised,” said Jansen. “If you are around people and you have any question about it, wear a mask, masks still work.”

From masking, testing and even staying at home, Dr. Jansen said we all know how to stay safe.

“We know all the things we have to do, it’s just that we are fatigued. We are all tired of this but just be smart,” added Jansen.





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