Final winter, the USA skilled a “tripledemic” of those three airborne respiratory viruses, leading to a spike in hospitalizations and deaths amongst each kids and adults. And this yr, some docs concern an analogous triple-whammy surge. However taking motion now could be one of the simplest ways to guard your self and your family members.
“We’re two weeks [away] from Thanksgiving, and now could be the appropriate time for everybody to guard themselves,” says Mandy Cohen, MD, director of the CDC. “Each winter season, we see extra viruses circulating, and sadly, these viruses make individuals very sick, [and they can] find yourself within the hospital, and sadly, even die.”
“We’re two weeks [away] from Thanksgiving, and now could be the appropriate time for everybody to guard themselves.” —Mandy Cohen, MD, director of the CDC
We could also be practically 4 years away from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, however Dr. Cohen says that the virus stays extremely prevalent, and given what we all know now in regards to the potential for contracting lengthy COVID and experiencing lingering well being penalties from an infection, it is nonetheless essential to take all of the precautions you may to keep away from the virus.
Meaning getting vaccinated for COVID-19 in addition to the flu, and for these eligible, RSV, as quickly as doable (and particularly earlier than doing any Thanksgiving or vacation journey). Under, you will discover the whole lot it is advisable to learn about eligibility for the COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines, get them, potential unwanted side effects, and different suggestions from the CDC for staying wholesome.
Who ought to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines?
The CDC recommends that everybody older than six months get this yr’s flu vaccine and everybody 5 years and older get one dose of the up to date COVID-19 vaccine (even in the event you had earlier COVID-19 pictures, assuming they had been earlier than September 12, 2023). Any of the present choices in the marketplace for the COVID-19 vaccine—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax—will fulfill this requirement.
One exception to this rule is in the event you had COVID-19 lately; the CDC suggests delaying your up to date vaccine by three months from the date if you examined optimistic, given reinfection is unlikely within the few weeks instantly following an infection.
Youngsters who’re between six months and 4 years of age may have extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to stand up up to now, and anybody who’s both reasonably or severely immunocompromised might also want additional doses of the up to date vaccine, so if that is you, it is essential to test in together with your physician.
Who ought to get the RSV vaccine?
In response to the CDC, adults over 60 years outdated and people who find themselves 32 to 36 weeks pregnant ought to get the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. (To be clear, those that don’t fall in these explicit teams will not be eligible for the RSV vaccine and shouldn’t get it.) RSV is a extremely contagious flu-like situation that may be notably harmful for susceptible populations, together with the very outdated and the very younger.
“For the primary time, we’ve got safety for our infants towards RSV,” says Dr. Cohen, who stresses the significance of vaccination for anybody in these eligible teams. “In the event you’re pregnant, there is a vaccine for you in the event you’re between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant, and we’ve got an antibody shot that we may give to infants underneath the age of eight months that may defend them instantly towards RSV.”
In response to the CDC, RSV kills an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 older adults and 100,000 to 200,000 infants annually. Final fall, the USA skilled a dramatic RSV surge1 that was pushed by two strains of the virus, RSV-A and RSV-B. It is thought that lack of publicity to the standard seasonal viruses within the years of COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns might have triggered this surge, which once more, occurred alongside an increase in instances of each COVID-19 and the flu, placing an immense pressure on hospitals. Getting the RSV vaccine, explains Dr. Cohen, can assist forestall a repeat of final yr’s spike, and probably save 1000’s of lives within the course of.
Can I get 2 or 3 of the vaccines on the identical time?
In the event you’re wanting to avoid wasting time on the physician’s workplace, Dr. Cohen says there’s no danger concerned with getting any mixture of the COVID-19, RSV, and/or flu vaccines without delay. There isn’t any minimal ready interval you could adhere to between every vaccine, in keeping with the CDC.
That mentioned, chances are you’ll wish to seek the advice of together with your physician forward of time to debate your choices, as getting a number of pictures in a single fell swoop might probably heighten the unwanted side effects of every; one 2022 research discovered that folks had been barely extra more likely to expertise unwanted side effects when getting the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine on the identical time2, and CDC scientific trials discovered that those that obtained the RSV and flu vaccines on the identical time skilled barely extra unwanted side effects than those that bought them individually. Regardless of this, the CDC experiences that getting all three vaccinations on the identical time is, once more, protected and efficacious.
“You probably have the flexibility to unfold them out, [and] you wish to try this, that is completely positive,” says Dr. Cohen. “You wish to get them collectively? Additionally positive. It is actually extra about what works in your schedule.”
What are the unwanted side effects of the COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines?
Unwanted effects of the COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines differ from individual to individual, however for many sufferers, the signs are gentle to reasonable. “The most typical unwanted side effects that we’re seeing from these vaccines are ache on the web site of the injection, a bit of arm soreness, and a little bit of achiness or fatigue that normally goes away with Tylenol or ibuprofen,” says Dr. Cohen.
Whereas there’s actually some danger of extra extreme unwanted side effects (like nausea, chills, and fever), Dr. Cohen says that these antagonistic reactions pale compared to the way you’d really feel after contracting RSV, the flu, or COVID-19, and are sometimes short-lived.
“The dangers of what might occur to you if you do not get vaccinated are a lot worse, so we wish to guarantee that everybody’s getting protected,” says Dr. Cohen.
4 suggestions from the CDC to remain wholesome this season (past getting vaccinated)
1. Keep dwelling in the event you’re sick
In response to Dr. Cohen, top-of-the-line methods to maintain your family members from getting sick is by limiting your contact with them whereas you’re sick. Certain, it sucks to overlook out on enjoyable outings and gatherings, however with correct relaxation, remedy, and isolation, you’ll be again in your toes sooner, and also you received’t danger getting your loved ones sick within the course of. “You do not wish to carry germs to your loved ones, notably in the event you’re gathering with grandparents or different older adults,” says Dr. Cohen.
In the event you start to really feel any chilly, flu, or COVID-19 signs , Dr. Cohen suggests getting examined for COVID-19 as quickly as doable. “Testing is admittedly essential [in order] to get you entry to the remedy that would prevent from going into the hospital,” says Dr. Cohen.
You will get examined for COVID-19 without spending a dime via the CDC’s Rising Neighborhood Entry to Testing (ICATT) program. Use this testing heart locator to discover a free testing location near your house, or order as much as 4 free at-home self-testing kits from the federal authorities.
2. Masks up
Carrying face masks may not be the norm anymore, however in keeping with Dr. Cohen, they’re nonetheless one of the best type of private safety towards airborne illnesses. Face coverings that totally cowl your nostril and mouth can defend you from saliva droplets and sprays (yuck!) that you may in any other case inhale when in shut proximity to others.
“COVID-19, flu, and RSV are respiratory viruses and unfold via the air,” explains Dr. Cohen. “Keep in mind—masks do work to guard you from what could be circulating in your airspace.”
3. Wash your palms
To forestall hand-to-hand transmission of respiratory (and diarrheal) viruses, the CDC recommends correctly washing your palms ceaselessly all through the day. You possibly can simply catch COVID-19, RSV, and the flu by touching your eyes, nostril, and mouth with unwashed palms which have come into contact with any of those viruses.
Whereas hand sanitizer does cut back the variety of germs in your palms, it doesn’t eliminate all sorts of germs, in keeping with the CDC. Per the CDC’s handwashing tips, make sure to wash your palms earlier than, throughout, and after cooking; earlier than and after consuming; after blowing your nostril or sneezing; earlier than and after coming into contact with somebody who’s sick; and naturally, after utilizing the bathroom. Scrub up with cleaning soap and water for not less than 20 seconds, or so long as it takes to sing “Completely happy Birthday.”
4. Journey properly
Whereas airborne sicknesses run rampant this time of yr, Dr. Cohen says that you may hold your vacation journey plans—simply be aware of your contact with others. Getting vaccinated, masking up when doable, and washing your palms ceaselessly will significantly cut back your probabilities of getting sick whereas touring.
“All of us can [still] collect with our buddies and journey,” says Dr. Cohen. “I plan to journey this Thanksgiving, however we’re utilizing layers of safety. It is why I bought vaccinated, my youngsters bought vaccinated, [and] my husband’s vaccinated.”
Adhering to those wholesome practices can hold you—and your family members—protected all through the vacation season. “All of us wish to have a contented and wholesome vacation season with Thanksgiving being simply two weeks away,” says Dr. Cohen. “We all know of us are gathering indoors, and that is what viruses like. They like to maneuver round with us, so we have to use the instruments that we’ve got accessible to guard ourselves.”
Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.
- Adams, Gordon et al. “The 2022 RSV surge was pushed by a number of viral lineages.” medRxiv : the preprint server for well being sciences 2023.01.04.23284195. 5 Jan. 2023, doi:10.1101/2023.01.04.23284195. Preprint.
- Hause AM, Zhang B, Yue X, et al. Reactogenicity of Simultaneous COVID-19 mRNA Booster and Influenza Vaccination within the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(7):e2222241. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.22241