RSV and Flu Threat Looms Over CSRA, Casting Shadows on Christmas Celebrations


Christmas is coming up in less than a week.

In many cases, that means opening gifts and spending time with family. However, it also means that people may be more likely to get sick at this time of year.

That could happen if you’re with a lot of people while doing last-minute shopping, at a Christmas party, or just with a big family.

Pediatricians’ offices and hospitals in the CSRA have been very busy with a lot of sick kids with respiratory viruses like the flu and RTSV over the past month.

A lot more kids younger than 4 are getting RSV and need to go to the hospital because of it, say experts.

People should be careful with this virus, says a mom. In 2019, her daughter got it.

“She was sleeping in her bassinet for about 15 minutes, and when I went to check on her, she was completely gray, not breathing, and not moving.” She said, “That was the worst moment of my life.”

Health officials at MCG say that RSV cases are going down on their own, with about half as many cases in December as there were in November.

It was about 20% of people in November who tested positive.

“There were a lot of cases in Georgia, including here in Richmond County, in the second half of October and the month of November,” said Dr. Rodger Macarthur with MCG. “But now that it’s December, it looks like there are a lot less.”

It’s only about 10% of people testing positive this month, but doctors still say you should be careful, especially if you’re old or have a baby.

He told them, “Wear a mask when they go to the malls or stay away from the malls all together.”

At least during the holidays, Rainwater says she will keep pushing for limits when it comes to the virus.

“When my friends have babies, I tell them not to be afraid to tell someone they can’t hug or kiss the baby. “Even if it hurts people a little, you have to do it to protect your babies,” Rainwater said.

Numbers will likely stay low, but experts aren’t sure. They will keep an eye on them.

Nose syncytial virus numbers in Georgia and South Carolina seem to have peaked about a month ago, but they’re still much higher than they were in the summer.

The flu is a different story. Along with North Carolina, South Carolina is one of only two states whose numbers are at the top level of “very high,” which is the highest level on the charts. Louisiana is the other state at the top of the “very high” range.

Georgia, on the other hand, is three steps lower, near the top of the “high” range. Still, that’s a lot more than places like Minnesota and Oklahoma, which have “minimal” cases.

Even though it’s not perfect, doctors say that getting vaccinated is the best way to stay safe.

“Getting a vaccine does not always keep you safe. It’s not a trick. “It doesn’t always keep the disease away, but if you do get it, your body can fight it off so much better,” said Dr. Robert Oliverio at Roper St. Francis Healthcare in South Carolina.

He also said that older people and people with other health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, lung problems, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can be at risk from these viruses.

He said that people who are afraid of getting sick should stay away from big groups of people because respiratory droplets are a common way for viruses to spread through the air.

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