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Doctors are seeing more patients with respiratory illnesses | Here's what to watch out for

Flu, COVID-19 and RSV infections are more present as cooler weather moves in.

ATLANTA — Doctors are sounding the alarm about the increasing number of respiratory illnesses that are circulating and warning people should be cautious during the holidays. 

Rising cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in children have led to more hospitalizations. In metro Atlanta, doctors have seen an increase in flu cases and health experts have expressed concern over the latest strain of the coronavirus.

"Now that people are out and about, we're being exposed to viruses that we haven't been exposed to for a while," Dr. Frita Fisher said.

Fisher explained the "tripledemic," as it's been dubbed, means people should be cautious, especially when gathering during the holidays.

"If you're in a tight family gathering, especially with people who are elderly, immunocompromised or with little kids who are less than two, while you're indoors, especially, go ahead and put on that mask and try to distance as much as possible," Fisher said.

Fisher added wearing a mask while traveling is also a good idea. 

Dr. Jayne Morgan says it's also important to be considerate of other people who may be present at a holiday gathering and stay home if you believe you're sick.

"Monitor your symptoms and please stay away from holiday gatherings if you have any symptoms at all," Morgan said.

She also mentioned getting vaccinated to help protect yourself and loved ones.

"You won't be ready for Thanksgiving, which is tomorrow. But you should still get vaccinated because as we move through the holidays, you'll have increasing contact with other people and we know there also will be travelers," Morgan said.

The doctor also stressed people gathering for the holidays should not assume they are in the clear if they do not test positive for one particular illness.

"A negative COVID test doesn't mean that you don't have the flu or the RSV. A negative flu test doesn't mean you don't have RSV. A negative RSV test doesn't mean you don't have COVID or the flu," she said.

Both doctors asked people to remember that the true holiday gift is to be happy and healthy - taking small precautions can help reach that goal.

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