Local experts warn of health risks ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

MIAMI – Respiratory illnesses like the flu, RSV and COVID are spiking across the United States ahead of this week’s Thanksgiving holiday.

And while the numbers are not as high in South Florida, doctors still say there’s been an increase.

“Thankfully we haven’t seen as much of RSV and flu as other parts of the country,” said Dr. Marcos Mestre, VP and Chief Medical Officer at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “Our emergency department and our hospital in general is busy, but with all the other stuff from all the other respiratory viruses, it’s not necessarily those from the tripledemic and definitely we’re not seeing a significant numbers of COVID cases at this time.”

Infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty says she’s observed a frightening trend among those with prior COVID infections.

“What we’re seeing in South Florida and what we’re seeing throughout the nation is a lot of respiratory infections a lot of colds and flu like symptoms and there’s a whole bunch of different viruses that can cause these,” she said. “”Many of the RSV children and RSV adults or influenza adults that we have to hospitalize that are very sick are those individuals that previously had COVID, so there’s some things that’s shifted in how they’re responding to other viruses that’s aggravating the problem from these other viruses.”

Florida’s Department Of Health in Miami-Dade sent out this warning regarding RSV earlier this month.

So how do we protect ourselves and each other as we gather at the thanksgiving table?

Experts recommend COVID and flu shots for anyone who’s eligible, and other common sense measures like regular hand washing.

“If your child is sick or if you’re sick not to go to a family gathering and spread it to the other people,” said Dr. Mestre. "

“If you’ve recently been exposed to a bad flu virus or any type of respiratory virus and you’re gonna be around others, it behooves you to wear a mask to protect those around you,” added Dr. Marty.

About the Author:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.