Americans bracing for ‘tripledemic’ this winter

The combination of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 is putting more stress on hospitals

ROANOKE, Va. – This winter, a “tripledemic” is lurking – according to the Virginia Department of Health, the combination of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 has led to a shortage of hospital beds and in some cases requiring longer hospital stays.

“We’ve been seeing much higher than expected and much higher than previous years,” said Elena Diskin with the Virginia Department of Health.

The flu is a big contributor to the “tripledemic.” Health experts said seasonal influenza is elevated for this time of year, putting more stress on hospitals.

“CDC so far estimates that there have been 4.4 million illnesses, 38,000 hospitalizations, and 2,100 deaths from influenza, said Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Carilion Clinic.

Right now, Virginia has one of the highest rates of flu activity in the country, but doctors have some good news. They say that flu vaccines do well to prevent the two common strains.

That’s just one of the steps you can take to prevent getting sick this season.

“Getting your flu shot every year, staying up to date with your COVID vaccines and boosters, and then a lot of the everyday preventative steps. Avoiding contact with sick people or staying home if you’re not feeling great,” explained Diskin.

Other tips include other preventative measures used during the pandemic, including social distancing, hand washing, and masking.

If you do get sick, doctors suggest having a plan.

“If you have the antigen test at home, you quickly use it. If the test is positive you can seek care immediately,” added Baffoe-Bonnie.

All good measures to make sure sickness isn’t on the menu this Thanksgiving.

About the Author

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.

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