‘Tripledemic:’ Influenza, RSV, COVID-19 spikes in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A spike of three respiratory illnesses is covering much of the Beehive State.

Per Gestland, a Primary Children’s pediatric doctor, said right now, Utah is experiencing a “tripledemic,” or three overlapping epidemics — RSV, influenza and COVID-19.

Health officials confirm 5 flu-related Utah deaths this season, including 2 children

A triple-threat of viruses can have dire consequences if not treated.

“Lots of coughing and lots of fevers, lots of muscle aches, some trouble breathing, needing oxygen … and often in the case of RSV, that lands in the hospital,” Gestland said.

While these viruses are normal for this time of year, Gestland said Utah is experiencing higher numbers than usual.

According to Gestland, this is because during the COVID-19 pandemic, people wore masks and social distanced. During this time, “RSV and flu basically just disappeared,” he said.

When people backed off from those precautions, he said “[the viruses] came back with a vengeance.”

That vengeance is hitting many Utahns — making what some believe to be a common cold something far worse.

“People that have runny noses and coughs progressed to lower respiratory tract infections, often in the case of these three viruses,” Gestland said.

One good thing about each of these illnesses, Gestland said, is that there are immunizations available — and not only are they available, but he said they are the best bet at getting better

“The flu is oftentimes more than just the flu, and it can be a pretty severe illness. And it makes a lot of sense to get informed and to get immunized and protect yourself and your family from it if you can,” he said.

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