ChristianaCare Physician Based in Kennett Square Warns of ‘Triple Threat’ of Respiratory Viruses This Winter

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Health officials throughout the country are indicating that we are now facing a triple threat of respiratory viruses — the flu, COVID-19, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) — as we head into winter.

Masking, social distancing, capacity limits, and school closures in 2020 and 2021 meant that we were more protected against these viruses. Now, with few restrictions in place in 2022, we are seeing their resurgence.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that these illnesses are appearing earlier and in more people than in recent years, we are now in throes of what those in healthcare are calling the “tripledemic.”

Dr. Glea Mazzuca.

“There has been a steady increase of the flu and COVID-19 in the region,” said Dr. Glea Mazzuca, a Kennett Square-based physician with ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest health system that recently purchased the former Jennersville Hospital in West Grove. “We’re urging the public to be careful and judicious in the winter months, when our exposure to these viruses is heightened.”

Symptoms of the flu, COVID-19, and RSV — runny nose, cough, congestion, or sore throat — are all very similar. As temperatures drop, the holidays approach, and we spend more time gathered closely indoors, Dr. Mazzuca expressed the need to take precautions.

“Applying good hand hygiene, avoiding crowded spaces, wearing a mask — these are all important, especially this time of year,” she said. “One of the best weapons we have for the flu and COVID is vaccines, so it’s important for people to stay up to date with their vaccinations.”

According to a report from NBC News, data from the CDC suggests that individuals who are up to date with their COVID-19 boosters were less likely to die than those who have been vaccinated but not received a booster. Also, the new bivalent boosters seem to reduce a person’s chance of infection relative to the original shots.

Whereas some people believe that COVID-19 is no longer the threat it once was, the experts say that case counts no longer paint an accurate picture of the pandemic, as most people test at home and results go unreported.

“Unfortunately, COVID is here to stay,” said Dr. Mazzuca. “It’s part of our daily life.”

As for the flu, this year’s vaccines are a good match for the strains of the virus now circulating.

Currently, there is no vaccine yet to prevent RSV, though there are few promising ones in development that may be available in the future.

Headquartered in Wilmington, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic healthcare organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible, and lowering healthcare costs. Learn more about ChristianaCare.

Check out this informative video on the “tripledemic” from ChristianaCare:

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