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Experts Offer Advice to Ward Off Respiratory Diseases

An increase in respiratory diseases cases alarm authorities

Health professionals advise people to fight the influx of respiratory infections as the tripledemic ruins the festive season.

Increased travel over the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving, has been blamed for the abrupt rise in respiratory infections. Because the population is affected by the three well-known respiratory viruses, Covid-19, Influenza, and the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, scientists have dubbed it a tripledemic.

More than 77% of hospitals in the US are currently filled with flu patients, according to new data from the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, authorities continue to report a sharp increase in Covid cases throughout states, even though cases are down from the previous year. For instance, the fact that almost 3,000 Americans pass away from respiratory illnesses each week raises worries among national health professionals.

“Everyone is ready to do as much as they can that they have done in normal holiday periods, especially as many of us have given it up for a couple of years. We’re entering a new normal where we have to navigate how best to do what we want to do,” shared Dr. Henry Wu, an epidemiologist from Emory University.

Experts provide individuals their professional advice in response to the unprecedented increase in cases of impacted persons. According to experts, these recommendations assist families in preventing the spread of respiratory infections and the affliction of susceptible people.

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Plan the holidays safely

Wu advises families to prioritize their activities and identify those that call for social interaction. Wu also emphasized the necessity for individuals to consider the demographics of a given event.

Smaller gatherings may be preferable to larger ones, primarily if they include youngsters and senior citizens. This is because younger persons and elderly adults who already have respiratory disorders are more at risk of respiratory illnesses.

“Every family and every individual is going to be a little different. So if you would like to do as much as you can to avoid getting sick when you’re getting together, if you want to protect the vulnerable person, whether they’re elderly or an infant, then definitely incorporate some of the lessons from the last few years,” said Wu.

Secure respiratory disease vaccines

All medical professionals advise patients to be vaccinated. This would be a very effective method of developing immunity to different respiratory illnesses. Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster injections are easily accessible at hospitals and other medical facilities.

So acquiring them would aid in keeping families safe. In addition to Covid-19 boosters, specialists strongly advise people to receive flu vaccines. More than 13 million Americans are currently suffering from the flu, according to a recent count by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The sense is that this year’s vaccine is a pretty good match to the strain circulating. And much like COVID vaccines, flu shots don’t prevent all infections. Still, they can help prevent hospitalizations, deaths, and transmission,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, a specialist from the University of Michigan.

Stay at home

Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, advised those with symptoms to stay at home. She does, however, caution that people should always wear face masks when going outside. And although Americans stopped wearing masks months ago, according to Walensky, it is necessary to return to the standards during the epidemic to provide the greatest protection.

“So we have been recommending masking, as I said, in areas with high COVID-19 community levels. And we have certainly always said that masking is a personal choice. You don’t need to wait for CDC’s recommendation to wear a mask. We recommend washing your hands. Stay home when you’re sick. Stay away from people who are sick. Take a COVID test if you have symptoms. Go present to your physician for other tests like RSV or influenza,” Walensky said.

“If you have symptoms, if you are feeling unwell, we will ask you to stay home. So we are saying we don’t really want people to gather if they’re feeling unwell,” she added.

Read Also: Flu Cases Spiked in the US After the Holidays

Go back to the basics

According to Walensky, getting back to the fundamentals should assist families in lowering their chance of catching respiratory illnesses. As a result, people must follow the fundamental guidelines throughout the epidemic. She also expressed gratitude to frontline employees for showing up for work despite a hectic holiday and a higher risk of contracting the illness.

“I think it’s really important to sort of go back to the basics of the things that we can do to protect ourselves. So the first thing is, what can you do in advance? And that is to get your COVID-19 vaccine, get your influenza vaccine and to do so now because you’ll be – if you get it now, you’ll be protected by the holidays. And we really want people to gather,” she explained.

“We’ll open the windows for people, increase ventilation if we can. And then, consider wearing a mask if there’s a large gathering. We also – you know, we’ll consider doing testing before we all gather,” she added.

“I want to make sure every family knows this. If you do get those symptoms, call your providers early because there are tests not just for COVID-19 but also for influenza. And if you are diagnosed early, we have antivirals that can be used to shorten your disease course and your disease severity.”

“My heart and respect and gratitude to all of our health care workers who are working hard through this season, not just for respiratory viruses in children but through – across the board.”

Photo Credit: Boston University

Source: NPR

Opinions expressed by Economic Insider contributors are their own.

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