Danger posed by COVID-19, flu & RSV a worry as people gather for Thanksgiving

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Thanksgiving gatherings trigger a spike in other emergency visits as generations come together and swap germs.

This year, the danger posed by COVID-19 and other virusesincluding an early flu season and RSV, the respiratory syncytial virus, is an ongoing concern, said Dr. Christopher Kang, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to certain infections; older people are more sensitive to others.

“What age group is not at risk?” Kang said.

To reduce the risk of infection and serious illness, make sure everyone who is eligible is up to date on their vaccinations. Ask people who show symptoms of illness, even “allergies” or “just a cold”, to stay home. Consider asking guests to take a rapid COVID-19 test before showing up. Make sure your home is well ventilated: Open windows, run a portable air purifier. To protect the most vulnerable customers, consider wearing masks indoors.

News4JAX also spoke with doctors in Jacksonville about what’s being called a “triple outbreak.” They say the region is not seeing a rush in COVID-19, RSV and influenza cases. They say those cases are here – but not in large numbers.

More than likely, children with RSV would be taken to Wolfson Children’s Hospital. News4JAX contacted staff on Wednesday and received this statement”

“Children’s hospitals across the country are seeing an early resurgence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common respiratory disease in children. Experts attribute this in part to a lack of exposure over the past two years due to COVID protocols. RSV cases in North Florida are declining and Wolfson Children’s Hospital continues to have the capacity to provide care for children in our community.

News4JAX has also made inquiries with various health clinics, such as Avecina Medical.

“We definitely had a slight increase in RSV and flu, but not really COVID. COVID has kind of been on a downward trend,” said Dr. Saman Soleymani, Avecina Medical. “When people when parents hear that, and you hear RSV, and they freak out a little bit not knowing what it is.”

News4JAX asked if this is something people really need to worry about.

“It’s self-limiting. Of course it’s a respiratory virus,” Soleymani said. “Where it becomes a problem is when patients have to have high fevers, they have difficulty breathing. If their breathing rate, their heart rate is so high or they’re having difficulty breathing, that’s where it becomes a problem where we can use drugs to reduce the inflammation of the respiratory system, you know, their give inhalers, etc.

Soleymani said one reason the Jacksonville area may not be seeing an increase in hospitals is that children may not be sick enough to require hospitalization and can be treated at home. .

News4JAX has also checked with UF Health Jacksonville to find out what it is seeing.

You know, we’ve had some pretty busy winters the last two years just because of COVID. Obviously now the other two viruses, RSV and influenza, are starting to show up a bit more. In fact, in Florida, you know, we, the health department, are watching an above average season for RSV and influenza,” said Dr. Chirag Patel of UF Health. “We are well prepared. We now anticipate, based on lessons learned from our COVID pandemic, that we will likely have a busier than normal viral illness season in the winter. And so we’re well prepared and have a contingency plan in place, whether it’s children or adults, to really manage the influx.

News4JAX also asked Patel about COVID-19 and how many people don’t seem to care anymore.

Well, COVID is still COVID. You know, it’s no less dangerous than before. You know, I think what you mentioned about people taking it less seriously has a lot to do with the omicron variant not being as virulent as delta,” Patel said. Mind that people are still hospitalized with COVID and we still have many more deaths from COVID than we should with a typical viral illness.”

One thing News4JAX has heard from multiple doctors is criticism of the health department for not releasing more information about the Florida cases. Doctors say it is essential for their planning and believe that in the long term it could cause serious problems.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved./Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Danger posed by COVID-19, flu & RSV a worry as people gather for Thanksgiving

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