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    Tripledemic

    Arm Yourself For The Flu, RSV, & COVID This 2023 Season

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      When is respiratory season?

      When is respiratory season?

      With COVID-19 now on the scene, “flu season” has taken on a new name. You can still expect similar timing from previous years—when more people gather in closer proximity (due to cold weather and schools in session), germs have more opportunities to bounce from person to person. Respiratory season begins in October and peaks between December and February, according to the CDC.

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      When is the best time to get the flu shot, COVID-19 booster, and RSV vaccine?

      When is the best time to get the flu shot, COVID-19 booster, and RSV vaccine?

      Here are the CDC’s immunization recommendations for the 2023 season:

      • The flu shot: Anyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu shot by the end of October.
      • The new COVID-19 booster: Currently anyone over the age of 6 years and 4 months past their initial immunization series is eligible for a COVID-19 booster, which was recently updated for Fall 2023.
      • The RSV vaccine: Babies under 8 months, pregnant women, and people over 60 are now all eligible for an immunization to help prevent severe illness from RSV.
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      How effective are this year’s flu shot, COVID-19 booster, and RSV vaccine?

      How effective are this year’s flu shot, COVID-19 booster, and RSV vaccine?

      The CDC is expecting good efficacy from the 2023 flu shot and COVID-19 boosters. Each year, scientists formulate immunizations to protect against the strains that are most likely to be dominant later in the year. They are not a perfect match but still offer adequate protection against severe illness according to the CDC. Arming yourself with the updated flu shot and COVID-19 booster (and RSV immunization if applicable) is the best way to protect your health and prevent another “triple-demic”.

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      COVID, RSV, or the flu? Our Symptom Tracker Can Guide You

      Symptoms of RSV, influenza, and COVID-19 can be similar. Our symptom tracker (based on information from the Mayo Clinic) can help guide you this season.

      SymptomFlu COVID-19RSVCold
      How it startsSuddenSlow onsetSlow onsetSlow onset
      Headache
      Fever
      Body aches & chills
      Fatigue
      Runny/stuffy nose
      Sneezing
      Sore throat
      Cough
      Shortness of breath

      Many viruses circulate every winter—if you have risk factors for severe illness or are experiencing severe symptoms, the Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

      Related Articles

      More Ways To Protect Yourself

      The flu, COVID-19, and RSV all spread by coming into contact with tiny droplets that are expelled when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes, or talks. Getting immunized is only your first step in protecting your health. Here are more ways the CDC lists are effective in protecting yourself from falling ill this winter.

      Wash your hands

      Use soap and warm water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after bathroom use, before eating, and after sneezing or coughing.

      Keep your distance

      Avoid close contact with sick individuals. Staying at least six feet away from those who are unwell can significantly reduce your risk of infection.

      Stay home when sick

      Whenever possible, stay home when you are sick. If you must go out, the CDC recommends wearing a high-quality mask that covers your nose and mouth.

      Avoid touching your face

      Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these areas are entry points for viruses. Being conscious of this can prevent respiratory infections.

      Latest Updates

      Jan 5, 2024
      Flu cases are on the rise among young children in the Southeast and West regions of the United States, prompting concern among doctors. (NBC News)
      Jan 5, 2024
      Doctors express concern over a rising flu rate among young children in the Southeast and West regions of the U.S. (NBC News)

      FAQs

      • How much does a flu shot cost?

        The flu shot is often covered if you are insured. If you are not insured, there are still free or low-cost options available through community flu shot clinics (these are often sponsored by schools, employers, pharmacies, urgent care clinics, primary care clinics, and local public health offices). For those who are uninsured and don’t have a free flu shot clinic, you can expect to pay around $20 to $70 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
      • How much does the RSV immunization cost?

        Similarly, the new RSV immunizations may be covered under your health insurance as preventative care (even those on Medicaid and Medicare). There are also lower-cost options for uninsured individuals (pharmacies and local health departments are the best places to check for finding your local low-cost options). For those without insurance, the RSV immunization costs between $180 and $295 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
      • How much does the new COVID-19 booster cost?

        According to the CDC, most Americans will be able to get a free COVID-19 booster this year. Although the United States government is no longer covering the cost of COVID-19 immunizations, many private insurance companies are picking up the tab. For those who are uninsured, free boosters can still be found at health centers and pharmacies that are participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.
      • When are this year's flu shots, RSV immunizations, and updated COVID-19 boosters going to be available?

        Most pharmacies and pediatricians received their stock of this year’s flu shot in August, with urgent care centers and other primary care providers getting their stock in September. The new COVID-19 booster is reported to arrive at immunization locations by mid to late September. As far as the new RSV immunization—it was only recently approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC. They expect fall availability as well, but you will need to check with your doctor or local health department for specific details.
      • Who can get the new RSV immunization?

        The CDC recommends that you get the RSV immunization if you fall into any of these categories:
        • Elderly over the age of 60.
        • Between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant.
        • Infants up to 8 months old who are entering their first RSV season.
        • Infants up to 19 months who are at high risk of severe infection due to being born premature or having heart or lung problems.
      • Where can I go to get my fall immunizations?

        The annual flu shot and COVID-19 boosters are available through a variety of options, including:
        • Urgent care clinics
        • Retail clinics
        • Pharmacies
        • Local public health or health department offices
        • Primary care clinics
        • Some employers and schools also offer pop-up immunization clinics
        For the new RSV immunization, you can check with your local health department, pharmacy, or doctor’s office.
      • How can I book my fall immunizations?

        You can use Solv to book your fall immunizations at urgent care or primary care clinics near you.
      • Can I get the COVID-19 booster, flu shot, and RSV immunization at the same time?

        Yes, you can get the COVID-19 booster and flu shot at the same time! Check with your doctor or pharmacist for guidelines on whether you can add the RSV immunization to your appointment or schedule it separately.

      Additional Resources

      Dr. Rob Image

      Medically reviewed by 
      Dr. Rob Rohatsch, MD

      Updated on Jun 23, 2024

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