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RSV continues to circulate in Hawaii as the holidays come around

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many are returning to a normal holiday season of travel and gatherings this year, but a trio of viruses are still circulating in our community, with RSV hitting Keiki particularly hard.

“Pediatric practices like my practice have just been inundated with colds and influenza COVID and RSV,” said pediatrician Dr. Theresa Wee.

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Meanwhile, adults are still fighting COVID and influenza viruses. The Hawaii Department of Health reported 10 more COVID-related deaths on Wednesday.

“Yes we are in a much better place than with COVID, but this month alone there have been 28 COVID-related deaths reported, 10 of them today. It is a sad and tragic reminder that we are not yet through this pandemic,” said DOH spokesman Brooks Baehr.

When families and friends gather for the holidays, there are ways to protect yourself and others while still having a good time.

“I think going back to washing hands, kids don’t rub their eyes, nose and mouth because that’s where viruses come in,” said Dr. Wee. “Be a little more careful about not sharing drinks because if you have RSV or a virus you have no symptoms. There is an incubation period of four or five days.”

Especially if there are immunocompromised people and kupuna at your Thanksgiving gathering, it’s a good idea to take precautions.

“If you can test before you go to a gathering, especially if you’re going to a gathering where you have people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID or another respiratory virus. Gather outdoors if possible,” Baehr said.

If not, try opening the windows to get some air.

It takes about two weeks for the COVID booster and flu shot to provide full protection, so it may be too late to get a vaccine or booster before Thanksgiving. However, they should come into force by the December holidays.

“We really want older people, our Kupuna, and people with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk to get vaccinated with these through bivalent boosters,” Baehr said.

If you or your Keiki get really sick, contact your GP.

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“We can do a telemedicine visit at any time,” said Dr. Wee. “If we feel like we need to refer you to the ER, sometimes it’s better to be a little more proactive than to wait until the last minute.”