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What will happen if RSV, flu and COVID-19 all surge at one time?

A San Diego health care worker prepares a flu vaccine in this undated photo.
Kris Arciaga
A San Diego health care worker prepares a flu vaccine in this undated photo.

Health officials are warning of a possible "tripledemic" in the months ahead — meaning a confluence of cases of the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus, — more commonly known as RSV.

Hundreds of children in San Diego have been diagnosed with with the respiratory illness in the past few weeks, which often presents with symptoms similar to the common cold but can be serious and cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Conversely, COVID-19 and the flu continue to present an elevated risk for seniors. Health experts say they anticipate an increase in reports of these illnesses in the months ahead.


Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the high amount of disease currently circulating in the community presents a complex dynamic when it comes to immunity and illness.

"On the one hand, an infection does rev up your immunity, but on the other, if you're hit hard by any one of these illnesses then that's a counter for [immunity]."

To avoid the possibility of infection, Topol recommends the use of a N95-grade mask.

He joined Midday Edition on on Wednesday with more on how this year's flu season poses new threats to vulnerable demographics.

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