As the holiday season approaches, New York City and other parts of the country are suffering from an infectious three-headed hydra.
Flu season spikes early across the US, with COVID-19 starting after Thanksgiving. Until last weekend, the city averaged about 1,100 The number of daily emergency department visits for illnesses like flu will double from late October.City’s weekly tally of COVID-19 cases following turkey gathering increased to over 26,000 — compared to 19,000 the week before. Both may be underestimated given the popularity of home testing.But, likewise, hospitalizations are on the rise 20%while death floats about 120 per week.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections remain high but are beginning to subside after plaguing the region since October.City public health center Approximately 3,000 RSV cases documented The first week of December was down about 40% from early November. Like the flu, his RSV arrival each year peaked months earlier.
Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Director of Health, New York City made a recommendation last week We urge New Yorkers to take extra precautions when traveling together over the next few weeks. He joined “All Things Considered” host Shawn Carlson on Monday to break down the best advice for facing the “triple illness,” especially when New Yorkers contract three infections in a row.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Sean Carlson: Why are so many people sick now?
Vasan: We’re not entirely sure why, but some theories are that the last two viral seasons have mostly been spent wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and not moving in the same way. As such, our immune systems are less exposed to viruses than they have been in years past.
We certainly see it in younger children who aren’t usually exposed to viruses and illnesses at school.
Your office recommends that everyone wear a high-quality mask.
What kind would you recommend, and what instance should I put in the first place?
Our first message is that the best mask you can wear is the one you can afford. .
However, high-quality masks such as KN95, KF94, and N95 have been shown to significantly prevent transmission of all respiratory viruses. That’s why doctors, nurses, and health care providers wear them in healthcare settings where they’re exposed more often. .
Do you know if masks protect us from RSV and flu better or worse than COVID?
It is clear that masks protect us from respiratory diseases, airborne respiratory diseases. That’s why we issued a mask recommendation last Friday.
For New Yorkers, the holiday season can be daunting. We want every New Yorker and everyone to have the opportunity to celebrate with their families, communities and congregations in a healthy way.
The safest way to do this is to wear a mask when you are in public, crowded environments such as subways, schools, elevators, crowded stores, etc. Are you shopping for the holidays? It makes sense to wear a mask when entering and leaving the store.
What are the symptoms of RSV? How do you know you have RSV and not the flu or COVID?
I think that’s a great question — and it’s really, really hard to say to be completely honest.
These are respiratory viruses. They primarily affect the upper and lower respiratory tract. Everyone who gets sick can be affected in slightly different ways.
Some people may be prone to coughing, or what we call lower respiratory symptoms. Some people may be prone to upper respiratory symptoms such as stuffy nose and sore throat. .
It’s a little trickier to parse, so we recommend getting tested often, especially for the more accessible COVID.
But if you test negative for COVID and you’re still feeling sick, it makes sense to get tested for the flu. Because there is a treatment called Tamiflu. When taken within the first 48 or 72 hours, it actually reduces risk, shortens the duration of symptoms, and protects you from severe flu episodes, which are especially at risk if you’re older or have a medical condition. Can be an underlying chronic health condition.
At this point, the idea of COVID-19 testing is well known. Clearly, the flu has been around for quite some time and people are getting tested for it.
Should they also be tested for RSV?
You can definitely get tested for RSV. There is no vaccine against RSV, although one is in development. Also, there is actually no specific treatment for RSV.
To be clear, most children under the age of 2 get RSV and most recover at home. What we are worried about is very small babies, especially those with very small airways, and RSV can attack them in a very serious way.
Although the number of cases has declined, there has been a slight spike in pediatric emergency room visits. There is also an increase in RSV cases, particularly among those aged 75 years and older. This is due to the fact that their immune system is not actually exposed to RSV and their immune system is not as strong as in young, healthy people.
This is a common virus. long time no see. If you feel unwell, we recommend that you consult your health care provider. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, call 212-COVID-19 (212-268-4319).we can connect you Contact your primary care provider or even have them see you through telemedicine – to get pax robid or necessary treatment, such as Tamiflu, or referral to a primary care provider.
Some New Yorkers probably remember (and hate to remember) the darkest days of the COVID pandemic. When I was sanitizing everything, not knowing much about how COVID spread.
Should surfaces be sanitized when it comes to RSV and flu? Should we pay more attention to airplane seats and strollers in that regard?
you are absolutely right. In the early months, we were all in a period of real uncertainty regarding contagion, so it’s no surprise that we tried to do everything.
What we recommend is really common sense hygiene like hand hygiene.we talked a lot About correct hand washingThis is one of the key messages of this holiday season.
Wash your hands early and often. with soap; 20 seconds; sing Happy Birthday. In addition to getting a COVID booster, in addition to getting a flu shot, in addition to being tested frequently for COVID and being treated if positive, do that.
Wearing a mask and hand hygiene were two simple and super easy ways to stay safe and prevent getting sick in the first place.
We have heard that some people get COVID, then the flu, and then RSV.
Any thoughts on how best to recover from a string of infections like this?
A tincture of time is always the best recovery and I really feel sorry for anyone who has been hit multiple times.
If you must go outside for work or other reasons, wear a mask even when you are recovering from a previous episode of illness.
But if you’re in the unfortunate category of being hit multiple times, the best way to recover is to get a diagnosis first. It is important to know if
If you have the first two, there are treatments for them that can shorten the course of the disease. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms.
If you have RSV, all you can do is rest. There are many supportive treatments available, including over-the-counter medications, Tylenol, and cough suppressants. They are healthy and effective. Staying home and resting is a really important part.
The latest COVID-19 booster (divalent booster shot) in addition to the flu vaccination. Is it possible to get both at once?
Exactly, I did the same. I received both the COVID bivalent booster and the flu shot in September. Because they work in very different ways, side effects are mild and there is no interaction between the two.
That’s why we’ve been setting up pop-up vaccination sites all over town, offering both bivalent and flu shots. You can schedule an appointment for I encourage everyone to do it as soon as possible.