Feeling Sick After Thanksgiving? Here's What Experts Say You Should Do

While Thanksgiving likely felt the most normal it has since the days before the COVID-19 pandemic, considerable spread of the flu, RSV and COVID-19 has many Americans wondering what they should do if they’re feeling under the weather after a holiday gathering. According to one public health expert, it may not be a bad idea to test even if you’re not feeling any symptoms following a Thanksgiving get-together. With the incubation periods of the current prevalent strains of the omicron variant ranging from four to five days, testing during the incubation period is recommended for all who attended a gathering. “Even if one has no symptoms, I would certainly test on day three and then test again at day five. If one looks at the CDC guidelines, it actually says if you don’t have symptoms to test on day five so that you don’t miss that incubation period,” Dr. Sharon Welbel said. Welbel is the director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control for Cook County Health. Welbel added that those who are feeling asymptomatic and have been testing for COVID are unlikely to have the virus if they continue to test negative and remain symptom-free five days after exposure. A PCR test remains the best option to ensure accuracy. Some individuals are feeling sick after their Thanksgiving gathering but have returned several negative COVID tests. With the current prevalence of the flu and RSV, a COVID test may not be the only test you need to take if you’re feeling sick. With different therapies and treatments existing for COVID-19 and influenza, Welbel said that knowing which one you have if you are sick can both help ensure the best possible treatment for the patient while helping keep those in public settings safer. Welbel said that testing for the viruses is available at primary care providers, and stressed that getting tested for the viruses can help ensure the patient receives the proper therapy for either COVID-19 or influenza.

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