DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, but if you aren't careful you could get sick at those gatherings, according to medical professionals.
Emergency departments across the state are seeing sharp increases in visits for upper respiratory viruses like RSV, COVID-19 and the flu. Doctors told ABC11 that the spread can be prevented by handwashing, wearing masks and vaccines. The vast majority of these viruses can be treated at home with rest and hydration, but people with underlying health conditions are more at risk.
As the holidays approach, doctors have concerns.
"I'm a little worried with the holidays upcoming we're already seeing a spike. With the visiting and getting to see people we often see those numbers go further up after holiday visits," said Dr. Nicholas Turner with Duke Hospital.
According to Dr. Turner, it's too late to get vaccines if you are looking to protect yourself for Thanksgiving because it generally takes two weeks for your immune system to respond and build up antibodies.
If the vaccine is taken now, it will kick in at the beginning of December.