Flu season is an expected nuisance during the winter months, but 2022-2023 may be even worse than usual, with talk of a tridemic swirling around. The CDC reported at the start of December that there were an estimated 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 7,300 deaths from flu along with over 450,000 new COVID-19 cases, and higher-than-normal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations, which began earlier and harder than usual across the country.1, 2, 3
With these three viruses spreading rapidly, all signs point to yes: we are in the middle of a tridemic, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Read on to find out how.
What is a Tridemic?
Though it is not a scientific term, a tridemic (or tripledemic) is the word people are using to describe the surge in RSV, flu, and COVID-19 cases occurring at once this winter, which some experts believe will overburden hospitals. Experts credit this surge to relaxed travel restrictions, decreased mask-wearing, and low rates of vaccination for the flu and COVID-19.
What are the Viruses to be Concerned About?
As stated above, the viruses to be concerned about this winter are RSV, the flu, and COVID-19. According to Yale Medicine, RSV seems to be targeting young children primarily, though adults are not immune from catching the respiratory infection.4 As of early December, RSV cases were lower than rising COVID-19 cases and flu cases. This is because the safety precautions enforced during the early COVID-19 days resulted in a lack of immunity across the population. Now that those precautions are lifted, we’re more vulnerable than ever.
It’s important to remember that while many symptoms of these illnesses overlap, they are each caused by different viruses. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, and RSV is caused by the respiratory syncytial virus. It is possible to be infected by multiple viruses at the same time.
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Symptoms of Each
RSV, COVID-19, and the flu are all respiratory infections, but they do have some differences. Here are the most common symptoms of each:
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever (not always)
- Usually clears up in a week
- Being under age two increases the risk of hospitalization
- Spreads mostly via contaminated surfaces
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or blocked nose
- Coughing (wet or dry)
- Muscle aches or pains
- Altered sense of smell or taste
- Usually clears up in one to two weeks
- The risk of complications increase with age
- Primarily spreads through respiratory droplets
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches or pains
- Nausea or diarrhea (mostly in children)
- Usually clears up in four to seven days
- Spreads through respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces
As you can see, it can be difficult to distinguish one respiratory virus from another and not all cases will display the same symptoms. But, according to the CDC, if a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer from the time of infection to experience symptoms than if they have flu and they may be contagious for longer.5
The best way to determine what virus you have is to visit a doctor, especially if your symptoms are worsening or not clearing up after several weeks.
How to Increase Your Odds of Not Getting Sick
When it comes to staying healthy during the tridemic, all experts believe that getting vaccinated and practicing proper hygiene are crucial. Washing your hands frequently, continuing to wear masks even when the mandates have lifted, and wiping down surfaces often can help prevent germs from sticking around too long.
And while the holidays bring family events, holiday parties, and other festivities, it’s also important to avoid crowds as best as you can. If you can’t avoid them, mask up and try to be aware of any arising symptoms so you can catch any illnesses early and prevent passing a virus on to someone else.
If you’re traveling this winter, wear a mask at crowded airports and train stations as well as during transit. Avoid touching shared surfaces like handrails, elevator buttons, and faucets, and wipe down surfaces when handling objects like the tray table in the airplane. Washing your hands isn’t always possible, so get in the habit of carrying around hand sanitizer wherever you go and avoid touching your face, which is an easy entry point into your body.
If you do start to feel sick, consider taking Brillia Health Cold-Flu Recovery to get better faster. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Cold-Flu Recovery offers a groundbreaking approach to reducing symptoms associated with RSV, COVID-19, and the flu: runny nose, stuffy nose, congestion, throat pain, and body aches. The medication uses unique antibody ingredients to target the specific proteins in the body responsible for causing cold and flu symptoms and helps your body control these symptoms. While fighting off upper respiratory infections and increasing your immune response, the homeopathic medication works to minimize the risk of developing a secondary infection. Even more, Cold-Flu Recovery is clinically proven to shorten the duration and intensity of your illness without making you groggy or upsetting your stomach along the way, so your downtime will be minimized. It’s recommended for children as young as 1 and for adults. So everyone in the household can benefit from using it.
If you’re also suffering from a cough, Brillia Health Cough Control can help to reduce both wet and dry coughs by functioning as a cough suppressant and antihistamine. But you won’t experience any drowsiness or jitteriness typically caused by other cough or allergy medications. Both Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control can be taken together for multi-symptom relief so you can get better faster and get back to all the fun winter has to offer.