Doctors watch for ‘tridemic’ spikes after Thanksgiving
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Feeling feverish? Got a cough and the sniffles? This year that could signal the onset on a variety of respiratory infections. Some are calling it a “tridemic.”
“If you have young children, RSV is going to be the biggest thing,” Dr. Monalisa Tailor, Norton Healthcare internal medicine physician and President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society said. “For folks who are older, over 65, they might be on multiple medications or things that suppress their immune system, I would put COVID and the flu right up there together.”
Trends tracked by Norton Healthcare paint a mixed picture of holiday risks.
The positivity rate for COVID cases at 7.3% has remained consistent for two months. The positivity rate for RSV is at 8.47%. That number has been falling for five weeks. The flu however is another story. A 2% positivity rate five weeks ago has jumped to 50%.
“We did have people socially distancing, largely for the last couple of years. And now we’re coming out of hiding and populations are coming back together again,” Baptist Health Floyd Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emily Volk said. “When kids are back at school and people are back at work and the masking guidelines are falling away, and really the guard is down again.”
It is a new twist on holiday health concerns. After years of COVID warnings about holiday gatherings, state maps produced by state health officials show COVID in retreat with most Kentucky counties in the green. Maps of the flu show many of those counties turning red indicating a rise in cases.
“They have the fever, they have the body aches, they don’t feel good,” UofL Health Hospital Medicine Service Line Director Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor said. “They’re not able to eat or drink enough to keep up their fluid intake. They have their cough and cold symptoms. They feel sick.”
But not all viruses are equal. The flu is not as transmissible as RSV and it is less likely to land you in the hospital as COVID. Still, that may not make you feel better if you catch any of them.
“COVID is causing more problems than the flu is, that is for sure,” Dr. Tailor said. “But they’re both going to make you feel pretty bad.”
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