If you're hosting or attending a Thanksgiving fest with many family and friends this week, health experts say there are three things you need to prepare for before you go.

The 'Tripledemic' in Illinois

Worrying about gathering with large groups of people may be soooo two years ago, but did you know Illinois is in the midst of a "tripledemic" right now? Yeah, I didn't really realize this either.

sick family

Before you get mad at me for talking about spreading illnesses again, please understand that I am NOT saying you shouldn't get together with family and friends this holiday season. I'm simply saying you should probably amp up your health consciousness just in case.

 COVID, RSV, and Flu Cases Are On the Rise in Illinois

We all know the COVID problem is still hanging around and that flu cases always rise when the weather gets colder, but RSV cases are a BIG problem in Illinois right now.

My husband works in the emergency department at one Rockford hospital and he has said numerous times that the hospital is overrun with RSV cases right now and that he's never seen anything like it. RSV isn't just an Illinois problem either, it's running rampant throughout the United States and it's a very scary thing for children and parents.

Amy Knight, president of the Children's Hospital Association, recently told NPR Illinois;

Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children's hospital in the United States right now.

How to Protect Your Family From Illness This Thanksgiving

It's just common sense that you should stay home if you or someone in your immediate family is sick, and that handwashing and sanitizing are key to keeping germs at bay, but is there anything else we can do? Here are some things you should consider before gathering with family and friends for the holidays:

  • It's not too late to get your flu or COVID vaccine and have it take effect by Thanksgiving.
  • Good ventilation helps reduce the spread of airborne illnesses.
  • Bring back air hugs and fist bumps, especially for young children. (Hugging and kissing are the biggest ways RSV is spread in children).
  • Don't forget your vitamins!

Here are more simple ways you can boost your immune system ahead of the holidays so you don't get sick and miss all the fun!

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5