Health Experts Say Mask Up, Vax Up For Healthy Holidays

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The holiday season is here and that means it’s prime time for friends and families to gather together. But there are a few guests you don’t want at your celebration…namely COVID-19, the flu, or RSV.

Health Officials Recommend To Mask Up To Prevent Illness

The trio has been the talk of tripledemic worries in recent weeks. Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, medical director of infection control and prevention at Naperville’s Edward Hospital, says that’s why people may want to consider masking up while they’re out and about over the next couple of weeks.

“You know, masking has continued to be a helpful tool to prevent infection. And the recommendations are when the transmission of COVID is high in the community that everybody masks and then everyone should consider a mask,” said Pinsky. “Masks also will help prevent transmission from other viruses, influenza, RSV and cold viruses.”

COVID-19, Flu Levels Have Increased

Pinsky said at Edward, COVID-19 case counts have been increasing over the past few weeks, noting that last week Edward had more hospitalizations than they’d seen since July.

And flu levels took a jump as well.

“I think that this is the highest influenza rate we’ve seen in the last ten years,” said Pinsky. “And we’re seeing levels that are three times higher than we’ve seen in any of the in our highest pre COVID season for influenza.”

RSV is the one bit of the tripledemic trio that is starting to see lower numbers, which is good news.

Now Is The Time for Vaccinations

There’s currently no vaccination available for RSV. But there are for the flu, and of course, COVID-19. Pinsky says if you haven’t been vaccinated or boosted, that now is the time.

“The most important thing is to get vaccinated and stay up to date with boosters. That’s the best way to get to ensure that your immune system is going to respond and protect you for against severe illness, especially if you’re older than 65 or older than 50 with other medical problems or at risk.”

And if you are feeling ill, steer clear of those friends and family, to give them the gift of the healthiest of holidays.

For Naperville News 17, I’m Kim Pirc.

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