Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Local health leaders say stay away from Thanksgiving gatherings if sick

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Children of Alabama Officials said their ER is full of children battling flu and RSV symptoms. Local pediatricians are asking you to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings if your children are sick.

Officials with Alabama Hospital Association said there are 220 people hospitalized with the flu since November 22. Dr. Don Williamson said flu and RSV can be dangerous and even deadly for those older than 65 and young children.

Jefferson County health officials say to calm the flu and RSV cases, those who are sick should skip Thanksgiving events.

“We have very high numbers of influenza and RSV,” said Jefferson County Children’s Health Medical Director, Dr. Khalilah Brown. “We’re seeing it affect more kids this year, which is affecting our ERs. Our local ERs are very full at this point.”

Brown said that because Children’s of Alabama is the only large-scale children’s hospital in the state, they typically fill up during the winter, but this number of patients is earlier than usual. She worries that Thanksgiving gatherings could cause more hospitalizations and cases.

“We typically see an increase in respiratory illnesses after the holidays where families are gathered, so that’s a concern we’re going to take care of,” Brown said. “If your child has a fever, if they have body aches, if they have a bad cough, a sore throat beyond drainage, or an allergic sore throat, these are all things you should have checked before going to a Thanksgiving gathering .”

She said the goal is to celebrate safely and not spread any disease when children return to the classroom. She said getting them a flu shot before they go back to school will help.

“We want them to have a happy holiday and be able to go back to school disease-free so they don’t spread it to other classrooms,” Brown said.

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