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Doctors fear another "tripledemic" will hit in 2023, warn time now to take preventative steps

How to stay healthy this winter as doctors fear another "tripledemic" will hit in 2023
How to stay healthy this winter as doctors fear another "tripledemic" will hit in 2023 02:38

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's feeling more like fall, and when it gets really cold outside, people head inside. That's when doctors said there could be an increase in illnesses like COVID-19 and the flu.

Doctors are warning that there could be another tripledemic, with COVID-19, the flu and RSV circulating at the same time this winter. That's why it's important to take prevention steps soon.

"The prevailing notion had been that COVID, flu and RSV ruled our lives," Nirav Shah, principal deputy director of the CDC, said. "This is the year that we can turn the tables on all three of those respiratory infectious diseases."

CDC officials said that's because there are more tools now to fight back.

Earlier this week, the CDC recommended everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine as cases and hospitalizations increase. Those vaccines should be available in the coming days.

"We've started to see an uptick in some parts of the country, in the southeast when it comes to RSV," Shah said. "If you're over the age of 60 or you have a young child now is the right time to talk with your doctor, talk with your pharmacist about getting the RSV vaccine or immunization."

An FDA-approved RSV vaccine is also available for pregnant people to protect infants.

Flu cases remain low for now, but the CDC expects activity to increase in the coming weeks.

Early data from the Southern Hemisphere's 2023 flu season shows vaccines reduced flu-related hospitalizations by 52%.

"They had a moderately severe flu experience and fortunately, the viruses that were circulating down under match very nicely what's in the vaccine this year," infectious disease specialist William Schaffner said. 

It's recommended everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine, ideally in September or October.

Doctors said you can get the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. The RSV vaccine is only for high risk groups like the elderly, who can also get a higher dose of the flu shot.

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