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Tripledemic: What You Need to Know

Woman blowing her nose

The flu season has been moderate to nonexistent for the previous two years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions to minimize coronavirus transmission, health professionals have explained why there hasn't been a particularly bad or even mild flu season.

Nevertheless, a severe flu season is anticipated this year, as COVID-19 has exited the pandemic stage and the mandatory mask-wearing and other safeguards have been lifted. Additionally, the projected COVID-19 surge and a high increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in newborns and young children might compound the season, raising legitimate worries about a potential "tripledemic."

The Tripledemic

A "normal" flu season lasts from mid-October through the spring, with December through February generally seeing the highest number of cases. When influenza and COVID-19 infections occurred simultaneously during the previous flu season, there was a major risk of a "twindemic," which might have caused the body's immune system to become overburdened.

That issue is still there this season as COVID-19 cases increase in anticipation of an autumn and winter spike. Still, it has been made more difficult by the unexpected increase in RSV, or the "tripledemic." RSV is another virus that causes upper respiratory distress and occurs concurrently with flu season. Its symptoms include fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Although the virus can infect anybody, it poses a particular risk to newborns and young children, frequently resulting in severe symptoms and hospitalization.

How Do We Know?

To predict the severity of the forthcoming flu season, public health professionals look to the southern hemisphere, notably Australia, where the flu season begins before it reaches North America. Australia had a sharp rise in the number of cases, hospital admissions, admissions to critical care units, and even fatalities, with the spike peaking in June and extending until mid-September.

Many pandemic-related measures were abandoned, which is why there has been an increase in flu cases. Still, public health experts and medical professionals also consider the possibility that people's immune systems may be particularly vulnerable to respiratory illnesses. Over time, immunity against respiratory infections may deteriorate. Natural immunity will be minimal if there have been several flu seasons that have been mild.

How to Prepare Ourselves

Healthcare experts and medical authorities strongly advise both the COVID-19 vaccination and a yearly flu shot. For those aged six and older, a new booster is recommended. However, for prevention against infection and serious sickness from both viruses throughout the season, public health experts say that this is the best method to get ready for the season.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccination for RSV. Therefore, health officials and medical professionals must strongly recommend basic hygiene habits, including hand washing, avoiding touching your face with dirty hands, and avoiding ill people and confined areas.

Wrapping Up

Doctors were concerned that Americans might experience a "twindemic" as the summer came to a close and the country entered the fall and winter. A "twindemic" is when the flu and COVID-19 spread together. However, as physicians notice an early surge in other juvenile respiratory viruses, notably respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, scientists increasingly worry that we may face the prospect of a "tripledemic."

To learn more about how to remain safe during the "tripledemic," contact Health Once Family Medicine by calling (469)262-5762 or visiting today!

Health One Family Medicine

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