Although “tripledemic” — Covid-19, RSV and influenza — A problem in many places, experts say, the flu has begun to hit the country hard.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said he saw the first signs that RSV infections may stabilize after an early jump when Covid-19 “smokes.”
But “the fever is severe,” he said.
About 20,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly double the previous week.
“Hospitalizations for the flu continue to be the highest we’ve seen this time of year in a decade,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Tuesday.
Here’s what you need to know:
More health news from America today:
Covid, RSV, flu: ‘tripledemic’ status
COVID-19: Experts say the number of coronavirus cases no longer gives an accurate picture of the pandemic as Americans test at home and the results go unreported. But health officials have seen an increase in cases and hospital admissions since Thanksgiving, Walensky said. In the last week of November, CDC reports:
- 4,650 people have been hospitalized
- 1,780 deaths
RSV: Exchange is high, but appears to be “peaked” in the South and Southeast, and “balanced” in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest, Walensky said.
Cold Fever: Thirty-one jurisdictions in the United States, which include states, major cities and territories, are reporting “very high” levels of flu activity, and 16 are reporting “high” levels, according to the CDC. So far this season, The The company said:
- 8.7 million cases
- 78,000 have been hospitalized
- 4,500 deaths
Flu Symptoms: What Does the Flu Look Like?
Flu symptoms: Fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, chills, headache and fatigue.
Flu strains: There are four types of influenza viruses – A, B, C and D – but the strains that most commonly cause seasonal flu are influenza A and B. Influenza C primarily causes mild illness and influenza D is not commonly seen in livestock, according to the CDC. People.
How long does the fever last?
According to the CDC, signs and symptoms of the flu usually resolve after three to seven days, but general weakness and fatigue can last up to two weeks.
Read more vaccine news:
Flu vaccine: Where to get the flu vaccine?
This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the three strains Schaffner said he sees most often in Nashville. Experts believe the simultaneous spread of the three strains “accounts, at least in part, for (why) we have so much influenza.”
However, flu vaccines are not provided to people in sufficient quantity. About 40% of children had been vaccinated by November 19, and 36% of adults by the end of October. Latest data available from CDC programs.
“Here, everywhere, the acceptance of the influenza vaccine is disappointing,” he said. “People really have vaccine fatigue.”
Experts say it’s never too late to get a flu shot. Here’s how to get one:
- Doctor’s Office: Experts advise people to call ahead before making an appointment to make sure they get the vaccine they want or need.
- Pharmacy: Major pharmacy retailers, such as Walgreens and CVS, offer flu shots and accept walk-ins or appointments online.
What is the difference between cold and flu?
Cold symptoms are usually less severe than the flu, but many of the symptoms overlap: fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and general fatigue.
Experts say the only sure way to tell the difference between a cold or the flu is through testing. Patients can be tested for covid-19 and flu at the same time.
How to treat fever
Most flu infections can be treated at home with rest and plenty of fluids, experts say. However, doctors may prescribe an antiviral drug for patients who are at risk of severe disease.
Four antivirals are approved for the flu in the United States, but the most widely used is known by its brand name Tamiflu.
But antivirals taken early in the disease work best, so it’s important to discuss options with a doctor before getting sick, said Dr. Pedro Pietra, professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.
“We’re in flu season right now without question, and there’s a lot of it around us,” he said. “It’s important to plan ahead.”
Contributing: Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY. Follow Adriana Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
Health and patient safety insurance in the USA today is made possible by a grant from the Massimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Massimo Foundation provided no editorial input.