COVID-19, Flu, and RSV: Is the US facing a triple pandemic?
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the course of human lives, several measures have been taken to combat its rapid spread. It had been a priority to annihilate this life-threatening menace. But in the meantime, tending to other common diseases had been neglected as the entire focus was on fighting COVID-19. With thousands of people reportedly taking a routine Covid-19 test along with a flu test, doctors and scientists were worried about a possible ‘twindemic’ at the onset of fall and winter in the United States.
However, their fears met reality with a ‘tripledemic’ being a real cause of concern Doctors are seeing a high rise in various pediatric respiratory viruses, like the RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). As per the CDC reports, the occurrence of respiratory illnesses is more rampant and copious among the population and especially in children.
What is a tripledemic?
There is no scientific definition for ‘Tripledemic’. It simply refers to a combination of flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and COVID-19 to such an extent that it might overburden hospitals and medical centers.
The 2022 tripledemic refers to the potential surge in COVID-19 and seasonal flu as the common virus RSV affects adults and young children under the age of 1. The presence of the combination of all three viruses is said to peak during this time of the year. Scientists are worried about a ‘Tripledemic’ in the country that can be caused by the common RSV raging amongst children, more and more flu tests coming back positive, and COVID-19 looming in the background.
The resurgence of respiratory viruses
More and more COVID-19 restrictions like continuously wearing masks, social distancing, office and school closures, as well as capacity limits, were being imposed on the masses because prevention of the spread of COVID-19 was prioritized. Fewer Americans were exposed to other viruses like the flu and RSV.
Many cities and states had eased up on these stringent rules with the dwindling number of COVID-19 cases. However, it gave rise to a worse problem when these viruses have begun to rise again. As per the CDC, the positivity rate of flu tests has increased from 1.27% in the last week of September to 4.38% in the last week of October.
With the rising surge in flu activity across the U.S. studies have estimated that this season will be more severe than the previous seasons. As per CDC data on the previous two years, the transmission rate of COVID-19 picked up during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Experts say that compromised immunity due to COVID-19, and lack of exposure to different viruses combined with close gatherings during the festive season can cook up something deadly.
Importance of vaccination
It is imperative for both adults and children to get a vaccination to prevent any grave health complications. Children might even need to be hospitalized if they get infected. Ones with underlying conditions stand at the highest risk of being hospitalized.
Along with the influenza vaccine, you need to consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster vaccine if you haven’t already. Medical professionals recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible in order to prevent any serious complications that might result in hospitalization.
How to minimize the potential impact of a tripledemic?
With the season getting colder and new viruses being the rising cause of concern, people should proactively take measures to minimize the impact of the looming tripledemic. Some great measures you can follow are:-
- Wash hands: Washing hands is a great practice if you remember to do it often. It keeps viruses from getting into your system from your hands while eating or if you unconsciously touch your eyes or your nasal or oral regions.
- Avoid touching: Make it a habit not to touch your mouth, eyes and face if you have unwashed hands.
- Keep surfaces clean: Make sure that you keep surfaces clean by wiping them with a disinfectant before and after you come into contact with them.
- Sanitize: Keeping a hand sanitizer handy is a good practice. You might not always have access to soap and water. In such instances, you can always use your sanitizer.
- Mask yourself: Always make it a point to wear a mask especially when you are in the presence of large crowds or come in close contact with someone.
What regions of the U.S. are at a higher risk?
Studies say that the viruses COVID-19, RSV and influenza are more likely to affect colder parts of the country. The frigid air will make people want to stay indoors with their windows closed. This paves way for easier transmission of these viruses. Another factor that invigorates the spread is the viruses’ affinity for cool and dry air. This phenomenon has been observed with the rising surge of flu activity in the Southeastern U.S. and Texas, which recently went through a cold snap. Parts of the country with low vaccination rates will also most likely get highly affected by the tripledemic.
States with the highest level of flu activity starting from November 10 are as follows:-
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
How to prevent getting sick during a tripledemic
The best way one can protect themself in case the looming threat of the tripledemic sees reality is to get vaccinated. The latest flu shot and COVID-19 booster are widely available. As per studies conducted, the flu vaccine is potent enough to fight the influenza virus strains that are currently circulating. An RSV vaccine is yet to be discovered, but it is important to protect yourself in other ways before it does. For starters, you can mask yourself indoors and in crowded spaces, frequently wash your hands and avoid going to work if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Testing for either of the three (COVID-19, RSV, and influenza) is also a foolproof way to protect yourself as well as your loved ones. You can never be too careful, but it is important to note that prevention is better than cure. Taking preventive measures should be a priority to prevent the rapid spreading of the flu and other viruses.
Get tested with Affordable Rapid Testing to minimize the ‘Tripledemic’ threat
One surefire way to know if you have been infected is by getting a quick flu test or COVID-19 test done. Recently, many countries in the U.S. have seen an increase in infections meaning that COVID-19 is not the sole thing you should look out for during this season. Along with COVID-19 infections, antibiotic-resistant Superbugs are expected to develop at a rapid rate during the fall/winter months. Hence, getting tested and treated is the ideal way to ensure your safety and that of others around you. Affordable Rapid testing offers seamless and hassle-free testing services with the quickest possible results.