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With the holiday season around the corner, experts are wary of increased respiratory illness numbers

With many excited for the upcoming holiday season, medical experts are becoming wary of the effects over the next few months as respiratory illness numbers rise.

BRYAN, Texas — After a two-year-long battle against COVID-19, many are excited to not feel the virus's widespread effects in their local communities. However, the virus hasn't completely gone away, as its effects still linger in the BCS area like any other part of the world.

However, with loosened guidelines in place, health officials are seeing an increase in another airborne enemy: respiratory illnesses. This has caused many medical professionals to urge people to get the flu shot with the holidays around the corner.

"Some of are patients have had the flu shot, some have not but we have already seen an increase in respiratory illness mostly, bronchitis, lots of coughing, not so much fever and a little bit of sinuses," said Dr. Mary Parish of the Health For All medical clinic in Bryan.

Dr. Parish explained how since the return of pre-pandemic activities, many have become more vulnerable to the illnesses. Activities such as get-togethers, going outdoors without masks, or adhering to general social distancing guidelines has made many people more vulnerable to illnesses that didn't disappear despite COVID-19 being a major health focal point for the past couple of years.

However, Dr. Parish believes more people will return to some pre-pandemic precautions to protect themselves.

"As the season gets deeper we may see more mask wearing. I see it a lot of it in the grocery store already, so people are trying to prevent to be ill and I encourage them to do so," stated Parish.

She wants people to consider masks as an option to keep themselves safe as the holidays reign in, bringing family and friends together for big occasions. 

"As the number of shoppers and participating in groups start to increase, taking care of yourself by wearing a mask or covering up is very helpful," explained Parish. "Most of our patients have been more than willing to get flu shots this year. They're all very anxious about getting it."

Be sure to pay close attention to your sniffles, coughs, and overall health to protect yourself and others against illnesses that could put a fork in your holiday plans.

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