‘Tripledemic’ has Evansville hospitals near capacity on bed space

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Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:39 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The winter months, with sometimes drastic weather changes, can lead to a heavy amount of respiratory illnesses in both kids and adults.

The Tri-State is no different to that of the U.S. in facing this battle.

“We have been full, but we’ve been able to make room,” said Deaconess Chief Medical Officer and Pediatrician, Joann Wood. “We are pretty dutiful and willful about making sure we have enough room.”

Dubbed by medical professionals as the ‘tripledemic,’ the converging timeline of RSV, the Flu, and COVID-19 is hitting hospitals hard.

“We have been seeing COVID, but we’re mainly seeing influenza and RSV,” said Dr. Wood .

The three viruses attack your respiratory system, which can lead to difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, in severe cases.

“Sometimes adults need in patient care or hospital based care, but it’s unusual,” Dr. Wood said. “The vast majority of us are going to do fine at home with typical cold medicines.”

Dr. Wood stressed that although it may seem worse, a first stop should be an urgent care, if it’s not an emergency situation.

“We’d love to save our emergency room for serious emergencies,” Dr. Wood said.

14 News stopped by urgent cares to check in on wait times and patient numbers. Nurse practitioners reported nearly one hour waits to be seen.

The likelihood of being seen quicker is higher when you visit an urgent care, since hospitals operate on a triage system in the emergency room.

”My recommendation would be if you have typical cold symptoms you can likely manage it at home,” Dr. Wood said.

That means if one patient’s symptoms are worse, they’ll be prioritized. Dr. Wood also says there’s another way to prevent a hospital visit.

“Immunizations have been demonstrated to reduce your likelihood of dying from the flu,” Dr. Wood said. “The risks with regard to a person from getting the vaccination are minimal if any.”

Not only can it help mitigate the severity of the virus, but also protect those around you.

“It could save your life, and it could save the lives of people you encounter,” Dr. Wood said.

Traditional ways you can stay healthy are by eating right, exercising, and hydrating. Another easy thing to do Dr. Wood says, is often overlooked.

“Especially for parents of children, and for children in particular, I would strongly pay attention to hand-washing,” Dr. Wood said.