Ready for a Tripledemic?
What do you get when you have surging cases of flu, COVID-19 and the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, all at the same time? Public health experts are calling it a “tripledemic,” but more important than the name for this is the health risk it may pose to you and your family. As hospitals and health centers are currently dealing with a rapid increase of people showing up with one of these diseases, it’s especially important to stay informed.
The Flu Threat
Staying on guard against the influenza, or flu, virus by getting a yearly flu shot is a good first defense, but there are signs that warn we are likely in for a bad flu season this year. A “normal” flu season lasts from mid-October through the spring, with December through February generally seeing the highest number of cases. The good news is that the flu vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease, so if you have not yet done so for flu season, get your flu shot. It can help you avoid getting the flu and help keep you from becoming severely ill if you do get it. Remember, Advantage MD members can receive a flu shot at $0 cost from either an in-network provider or pharmacy.
The RSV Threat
Similar to the flu, RSV is a common upper respiratory infection that circulates in the community every year. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Although the virus can infect anybody, it poses a particular risk to newborns and young children, often resulting in severe symptoms and hospitalization, and can also be a serious health threat to older adults.
There is no vaccine available for RSV, but because masking and social distancing remained in effect last year, we didn’t experience an increased spread of infection. This is also why this year hospitals and health centers are now seeing such a large increase in cases of children with RSV. The best way to reduce the spread of RSV is to follow basic hygiene habits such as hand washing, refraining from touching your face and avoiding confined spaces and people who have symptoms of illness. If you believe your child or newborn has a respiratory infection, contact your child’s doctor promptly.
The COVID-19 Threat
If you thought we were finally done with COVID-19, public health experts are suggesting that we will likely see an increase in cases this winter. This is to be expected, though, because COVID-19 is part of the coronavirus family, which is known to spread more easily during the winter months.
The new COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster helps to prevent infection from both the original version of the coronavirus and the newer Omicron variants, giving you greater protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 12 and older get the COVID-19 bivalent booster to stay up to date with vaccination.
How to Stay Protected