ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Cooler weather brings with it the threat of seasonal illnesses, but between the cold and flu, COVID-19, and RSV, a ‘tripledemic’ could be looming.
Just like last year, it’s not simply cold and flu season anymore, says Doctor Timothy Carroll of Mercyhealth. COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are also two illnesses to watch out for. Because all three have similar symptoms, it can be hard to tell the infections apart.
“These are all respiratory viruses and they are all highly transmissible,” said Dr. Caroll. “So I think in general even out in the general public it can be hard to know exactly what your dealing with.”
Carroll says there are some distinctions to help you know what infection you’re dealing with, should you come under the weather this year.
“Muscle aches, tend to go so strongly with infections like the flu. And there’s some signs like wheezing, which tend to go with viruses like RSV. But it can be difficult and the overlap can be significant,” Carroll advised.
The overlapping symptoms means it’s best to get ahead of the disease by taking precautions. “I think one of the best things you can do to really protect others is if you are able to stay home from work when you’re feeling sick and you’re not feeling well,” said Dr. Carroll.
“That’s helpful to try and limit the spread of the disease. Another thing you can do is just make sure that you’re following really good, simple hygiene, washing your hands several times a day.”
While some aches and pains caused by the viruses can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Medical professional recommend more intense symptoms require a closer look.
“If you have persistent symptoms or you have other co-morbidities that make you at risk for more severe disease, your primary care doctor can really help you,” said Carroll.