More and more individuals are falling ill during the worst flu season in a decade. Thirteen million people in the United States have contracted the flu since October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has also noted an increase in the prevalence of other respiratory infections.
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There are long lines at hospitals’ emergency rooms and waiting times of several hours. Officials fear that the holiday season may bring an increase in the “tripledemic” of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and swine influenza virus (SIV).
Dr. Thomas Brabson, AtlantiCare’s chair of emergency services, said that a large number of patients were presenting with symptoms consistent with the flu.
It’s getting to the point where hospitals can’t keep up with the number of patients.
The number of confirmed influenza cases in New Jersey is among the highest in the country, as shown by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While almost 44,000 cases have been confirmed by laboratories since October, experts believe the true figure is far higher because so few individuals get tested.
“I think people are letting their guard down,” Brabson speculated, “since people are getting out and about a lot more.”
And the number of kids hospitalized with RSV (a respiratory virus) is rising.
Compared to previous years, “this past year has been unlike any other,” Dr. Laura Pusley remarked.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections are on the rise alongside influenza and COVID-19.
Once again, the tri-state area is shown in red on the CDC’s COVID-19 community transmission map, indicating widespread transmission of the virus.
COVID-19 instances have increased by 50% in New Jersey, 39% in Pennsylvania, and 65% in Delaware over the past two weeks.
Brabson acknowledged that “there are some extreme examples.” People with underlying health problems are more likely to experience severe symptoms.
Doctors think that mask use and up-to-date vaccinations could slow the spread of the three viral diseases currently sweeping the country.
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However, as of this writing, only about 13% of Americans had received the revised COVID-19 boosters.
The results “inform me that people are not getting the message,” Dr. Douglas Chiriboga said.
Overcrowding in emergency rooms is becoming a problem in some areas, therefore doctors advise that patients only come in if they are having problems breathing or another similarly life-threatening condition.
Stay home and call the doctor if it’s only a fever and congestion.