The Perfect Enemy | Surging COVID-19, flu and RSV cases bring big concerns for some ahead of Thanksgiving celebrations
December 3, 2022

Surging COVID-19, flu and RSV cases bring big concerns for some ahead of Thanksgiving celebrations

Surging COVID-19, flu and RSV cases bring big concerns for some ahead of Thanksgiving celebrations  News 5 Cleveland WEWSView Full Coverage on Google News

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CLEVELAND — Can I safely celebrate Thanksgiving with my loved ones?

It’s a question on the minds of many, as we continue hearing about a surge in RSV, flu and COVID-19 cases ahead of the holidays.

News 5 took your concerns directly to the experts.

The answer in short is “Yes.” Yes, you’re safe to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends.

It’s not a peak pandemic like we saw back in 2020 with restrictions and urgent concern.

However, experts say you should be cautious, especially if you’re sick and displaying any sort of outright respiratory and flu-like symptoms.

“I plan on being around family and everything so I hope everybody can enjoy the holidays,” said David Kaufman of Cleveland.

Thanksgiving excitement is already building for Lifelong Clevelander David Kaufman—especially after the last couple of holidays were scaled back due to pandemic restrictions.

This go around—he’s ready.

He says he’s not messing around when it comes to staying safe.

“My head goes to people need to get vaccinated number one,” said Kaufman.

Dr. Donald Dumford, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital, says this year brings a unique trifecta of sorts.

Children’s hospitals across the country are now seeing an uptick in RSV hospitalizations.

Flu cases are beginning to rise in adults.

And we are still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he says don’t cancel your plans UNLESS–

“I think it’s really if you’re really sick, you just really have to take yourself out of circulation,” said Dumford.

Dumford says it is safe to celebrate Thanksgiving, but if you’re showing symptoms consider—putting things on pause.

He says those celebrating should be conscientious when it comes to overall hygiene, in the kitchen, at the dinner table, and while socializing.

It starts and ends with washing your hands and sanitizing.

“If you’re going to be interacting with everybody, make sure you’re keeping your hands clean, because that is one of the biggest ways for us to transmit infections,” said Dumford.

If you or your loved ones are severely immunocompromised or elderly—consider masking up post-dinner.

He says what’s complicated about RSV, COVID-19 and the flu diagnoses are the overall symptoms.

RSV in kids is more of a heavy cough in the lower respiratory tract.

COVID-19 can start out like a cold with cold symptoms and worsen.

The flu can be a combination of everything plus fever and body aches depending on the variant.

“The best way is to say, ‘hey, I’m sick and get tested to figure out which one of those it is,'” said Dumford.

Based on your test results, the best course of treatment can be outlined by your physician.

In the meantime—he has this advice for everyone, as we prep for what he says could be an early, heavy flu season in the winter months ahead.

“Get your flu shot. And I think the other most important thing is that if you are sick, don’t be one of the walking wounded and continue going about your normal life,” said Dumford.

Dumford says it’s so important to get vaccinated, especially if you’re over age 65 or immunocompromised.

If you’re a parent with a child displaying symptoms, contact their pediatrician.

If you start to see your child looking short of breath, acting lethargic, or being non-responsive, take them to the emergency room as soon as possible.