Temperatures are dropping and the risk of COVID-19 and influenza are up. For the last few months, patients with a different malady — respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV — have been overwhelming hospitals. Public health officials warn that there could be a “tripledemic.”

The unusually high number of RSV infections so early in the year are already pushing hospitals to capacity. In normal years, RSV sends thousands of children to the hospital over fall and winter, but for the second year in a row experts have seen an unprecedented spike in the number of cases beginning during the summer months.

One group stepping in to help is hospitalists.  At Atrium Health there is a strong network of pediatric hospitalists.

Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital hospitalists are specifically trained to work with kids in a variety of circumstances.  They are now fanning out across the state to help at other locations, as RSV and flu cases rise.

There is no RSV vaccine yet, although there are many in development.

There is, however, a treatment called palivizumab that is available to high-risk infants. It is an injection that can be given to premies and other babies born with certain lung or heart conditions who are at high risk for severe RSV disease. It is administered once a month throughout the RSV season.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services dashboard shows influenza cases rising in the state.  You can check the latest numbers on flu, COVID-19 and RSV by clicking here.