Local health leaders say stay away from Thanksgiving gatherings if sick

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:15 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Children’s of Alabama officials said their E.R. is full of kids battling flu and RSV symptoms. Local pediatricians are asking you to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings if your kids are sick.

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

Jefferson County health leaders say to calm the flu and RSV case, those who are sick should skip out on Thanksgiving events.

“We have very high numbers of flu and RSV,” Jefferson County Child Health Medical Director Dr. Khalilah Brown said. “We are seeing it impacting more children this year, which is impacting our ERs. Our local ERs are very full at this point.”

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

“We usually see an uptick in respiratory illnesses after the holidays where families have gathered, so that is a concern we will be looking out for,” Brown said. “If your child has a fever, if they have body aches, if they have a severe cough, sore throat beyond drainage or allergy sore throat, those are all things you should have checked out before you go to a Thanksgiving gathering.”

She said the goal is to celebrate safely and not spread any illness when kids head back to class. She said getting them vaccinated for the flu before they return to school will help.

“We want them to have a happy holiday and be able to go back into the schools illness free, so they don’t spread it amongst other classes,” Brown said.

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