The “triple demic” of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza, Problems remain in many places, and experts say the flu is starting to hit the country hard.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said that while COVID-19 was “smoldering,” RSV infection could stabilize after an initial jump. He said he saw the first signs of it.
But “the flu is fierce,” he said.
About 20,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last week, nearly double the number from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Flu hospitalizations continue to be the highest seen this time of year in a decade,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Wallenski said at a briefing on Tuesday.
Here’s what you should know:
Other health news from USA TODAY:
COVID, RSV, Influenza: A ‘Triple Disease’ State
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus infectious disease: Experts say coronavirus cases no longer give an accurate picture of the pandemic as Americans have tested at home and results have not been reported. In the last week of November, the number of cases and hospitalizations has increased, Wallenski said. CDC reported:
- 4,650 hospitalizations
- 1,780 dead
RSV: Infections are still high, but appear to have “peaked” in the South and Southeast, and “flatten out” in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest, Wallenski said.
influenza: According to the CDC, 31 U.S. jurisdictions, including states, major cities and territories, reported “very high” levels of influenza activity, and 16 jurisdictions reported “high” levels. increase. So far this season, agency reported:
- 8.7 million
- 78,000 hospitalizations
- 4,500 dead
Flu Symptoms: What does the flu feel like?
Flu symptoms: Fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, fatigue.
Influenza strain: There are four types of influenza viruses, A, B, C and D, but influenza A and B are the strains that usually cause seasonal flu illness. According to the CDC, influenza C primarily causes mild illness, while influenza D is usually found in cattle, but not cattle. Man.
How long does the flu last
According to the CDC, flu signs and symptoms usually go away in 3 to 7 days, but general weakness and fatigue can last up to 2 weeks.
Read more vaccine news:
Flu Vaccine: Where can I get a flu shot?
This year’s flu vaccine is good for the three strains Schaffner said are most frequently seen in Nashville. That all three strains are circulating at the same time experts believe “at least partly explains why we’re seeing so many flu outbreaks.”
But not enough people are vaccinated against influenza. About 40% of children were vaccinated as of November 19, and about 36% of adults were vaccinated at the end of October. Latest data available from the CDC show.
“Here, as everywhere, the acceptance of the flu vaccine has been disappointing,” he said. “People really have vaccine fatigue.”
Experts say it’s never too late to get a flu shot. You can get it from:
- Clinic: Experts advise people to call ahead before making an appointment to make sure the vaccine they want or need is available.
- pharmacy: Major pharmacy retailers such as Walgreens and CVS offer flu vaccines and accept walk-ins and appointments online.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The symptoms of a cold are generally not as severe as the flu, but many symptoms overlap, such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough and general malaise.
According to experts, testing is the only definitive way to tell the difference between a cold and the flu. A patient can test her for COVID-19 and influenza at the same time with one swab.
how to treat flu
Experts say most flu infections can be treated by staying home and staying well hydrated. However, doctors can prescribe antiviral drugs to patients at risk of serious illness.
Four antiviral drugs are licensed for influenza in the United States, but the most widely used is known by its brand name, Tamiflu.
However, antivirals are most effective when taken early in the illness, so it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor before you get sick.
“We’re definitely heading into flu season right now, and there’s a lot of flu around us,” he said. “Pre-planning is key.”
Contributors: Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on her Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
Health and patient safety coverage on USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial opinion.