ALBANY, NY – With families and friends gathering indoors, health officials say we still need to take preventative measures to stop the spread of RSV, COVID and the flu.
NewsChannel 34’s, Amal Tlaige has the latest on how we can stay healthy this holiday season.
“This is a season of giving, but we’re hoping to not allow people to give each other these viruses.”
Danielle Wales is an Attending Physician at Albany Medical Center. Wales says COVID continues to be a concern, and Albany Med has seen an increase in flu and RSV cases.
“RSV is a challenge because it’s the most dangerous to our youngest patients, babies under 6-12 months. One to three percent of those kids will be hospitalized for RSV which tends to be a big burden on the family, very scary for parents and family members alike.”
Doctors have seen RSV cases start earlier this year. This could be due to people being masked and isolated for the past two years, giving the virus no place to go.
While RSV is more prevalent in children, adults can also get it.
In children, symptoms include a buildup of mucus leading to trouble breathing as well as coughing and wheezing and possibly a fever.
In adults, they can feel like they just have a bad cold but can also experience wheezing and issues breathing.
While many will be gathering together for the holiday season Wales says it’s important to keep children away from adults who are sick.
“If you are sick and have to be near a baby, wear a mask. Masks – since it’s a respiratory virus – do a great job of preventing the spread of droplets from the virus.”
And when it comes to COVID and the flu, Dr. Fauci says there’s no definitive expectation, but The White House has all the necessary procedures and resources in place if there is a spike.
“Because we have flu vaccines, we have COVID vaccines, we have testing, we have the option under certain circumstances with good judgment to wear masks where appropriate in indoor congregate settings, so we can do a lot to mitigate any surge.”
Health officials also say to use common sense health practices to keep everyone safe.
“If you’re sick try and isolate yourself, stay home from work if you have a fever, call in, check a COVID test at home, we can still do that and out of all these viruses we’re discussing today it’s the most infectious out of all of them.”
You can visit ny.health.gov to find the latest info on virus, vaccines and testing sites.
Reporting in Albany, Amal Tlaige.