Expert Advice On How To Fight The Big Three—Flu, COVID, And RSV—This Fall
The last days of summer are upon us. As we collectively recover from years riddled with infectious diseases, misinformation, and an overwhelmed healthcare system, preparing for cooler temperatures is a must.
Whether you’re a parent sending their kids back to school or heading back to the office; the need to stay healthy and avoid losing days to recovery efforts will be even more crucial as the fall and winter months loom. Experts are already lining up advice for the millions of Americans who may be wondering which, if any, vaccines are necessary to stay above the fray.
“All three are, in general, strongly recommended for the populations they’re intended for,” sDr. Payal Patel, an infectious disease physician at Intermountain Health in Utah, told PBS. For those who are most skeptical about the safety of vaccines, the preventative measure against influenza has been around the longest, but the evolution of the disease changes annually, according to Dr. Paul Offit, who directs the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Every year, medical experts use various flu strains to create a vaccine that protects against the virus and very seldom misses the mark. Leading epidemiologists suggest scheduling flu vaccinations starting in late September.
For COVID and RSV, the advice is more complex.
The Biden administration may have ended the nation’s three-year-old COVID public health emergency, but experts say the need for protective measures is still high for the most vulnerable populations.
According to PBS, the virus that once upended daily life is constantly mutating itself and still poses a significant health risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is examining the effectiveness of boosters from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax to determine whether their usage will be recommended throughout the cooler seasons.
If approved, the boosters will only be made available for those 75 or older, pregnant, or immunocompromised.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, commonly affects young children and the elderly and is particularly fatal for the latter. According to CDC, approximately 10,000 older adults succumb to the illness annually. For children under the age of 5, hospitalizations are prevalent.
Though RSV has plagued communities since the 1950s, the vaccine for it was introduced to the public this year. Researchers have yet to determine how effective it will be to combat the symptoms of RSV, if at all.