Signs of ‘tripledemic’ in doctors’ offices

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Health care providers are warning about a tripledemic this winter — a perfect storm of COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases.

“Covid is lower than it has been and RSV is probably the number one right now,” said Dr. Chelsea Sanchez, a provider at Albuquerque’s Journey Pediatrics.

Her office is having to turn down 15-20 families every day, even after recently bringing on a new provider to help with an increase in cases they started to see about a month ago.

“I would not be surprised if this is what people are reporting in our city the rest of the state and across the country,” said Sanchez. She says RSV is far outweighing flu and Covid at this point.

“People are back to work so their kids are back in daycare so I think that has a lot to do with it because this can spread pretty quickly throughout the daycares,” said Sanchez. “Cold also hit quickly so now everyone’s back inside, they’re not outdoors as much anymore.”

Sanchez says she’s seen one flu case in the last couple of weeks, but about five RSV cases in the last 24 hours.

Flu and RSV seasons tend to overlap, from October to March. Coronavirus tends to come a little later into winter. Sanchez says we’ve lived through tripledemics before, maybe without even knowing it.

“I would say this is not new– I would say we’ve probably had tripledemics for years now. It’s usually RSV and flu and some other virus,” said Sanchez.

She shared another common piece of advice for families, “Kids under age two are the highest risk for complications from flu and RSV so if you’re sick and you’re around kids under two years old keep your distance a little bit.”

Hand sanitizer and washing, and vitamins C and D and zinc can help too.

“The older generation is at risk so RSV and flu hit the really young and the really old,” said Sanchez.

If your pediatrician’s office can’t fit you in for an appointment, UNM Hospital has a pediatric ER that stays open later than other offices.