What to Know About the COVID-19, Flu and RSV ‘Tripledemic’

Patient Breathing Red Shirt

The winter months are often called “cold and flu season,” but this phrase doesn’t come close to covering all the viruses making the rounds this year.

COVID-19 continues to circulate, causing severe illness and hospitalization for many people. Experts are also seeing a rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can affect young children and older adults. Family gatherings and school and social events are in full swing, giving these viruses a prime chance to spread.

Colds vs. RSV: What’s the difference?

RSV often starts with a runny nose, cough and sneezing. However, as RSV gets worse, it can cause:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing

People over age 65 have an increased risk of serious illness from RSV. Your risk is even higher if you have:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Weakened immune system

Depending on your symptoms and overall health, RSV treatment may include:

  • Bronchodilators, medications that help open your airways
  • Fever-lowering medications
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids if you’re dehydrated
  • Supplemental oxygen

If you think you or a loved one may have RSV, don’t wait to seek medical attention. RSV treatment is more than a comfort measure. The right care can help you avoid complications and recover faster.

Man sick on couch 2

Flu vs. COVID-19: What to know

The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, so you can’t tell them apart without a medical test. Both infections can cause:

  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble breathing

Healthcare providers can test you for COVID-19 and flu so you can get the right treatment quickly, and early treatment for these infections could keep you out of the hospital.

Tamiflu is an effective antiviral medicine that keeps the flu from multiplying in your body. When you take Tamiflu within the first 48 hours of getting sick, you lower your risk of hospitalization and serious complications.

Antivirals are also available for COVID-19. These medications are highly effective against the illness if you take them within the first two days of symptoms.

Usually, providers give antivirals to those at high risk of serious COVID-19 complications. You might be at high risk if you are over age 50 and have a long-term health condition, like heart disease, obesity or diabetes.

Treatment can keep you safe

It can be stressful to think about all the illnesses going around — but don’t panic. Getting prompt medical care can help you feel better quickly and prevent serious complications.

When you’re not feeling well, it can be hard to travel — and you may just want to stay in bed. With DispatchHealth, you can get medical diagnosis and treatment from a skilled healthcare professional without leaving your home. Our team provides in-home treatment for RSV, flu and COVID-19. Once you make an appointment, a skilled medical team will arrive at your house to deliver same-day care.

When you get sick, it’s tempting to try to “sleep it off” or hope it goes away on its own, but don’t ignore respiratory illnesses this winter. The right medical treatment can get you feeling better quickly — and may help you avoid a hospital stay.

For life-threatening illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. DispatchHealth shouldn’t be used in a life-threatening emergency and doesn’t replace your primary care provider.

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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