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What is the 'tripledemic,' and how can you avoid it?

COVID-19, the flu, RSV, and other illnesses are going around at an alarming rate. Here are some tips to help avoid getting sick.

PORTLAND, Maine — This winter, it seems nearly impossible to avoid catching one of the many illnesses going around. 

Health experts have said they are seeing another spike in COVID-19 cases, alongside high rates of RSV and influenza.

"We have certainly seen a lot of patients coming in with respiratory illnesses the last couple of weeks," Dr. Dora Anne Mills with Maine Health said. 

She said they're seeing an uptick in COVID with the new subvariant XBB, which is said to be more contagious and spreads quickly. 

Mills recommended that anyone who hasn't done so to get the latest COVID boosters, as well as the seasonal flu vaccine, so the only thing being spread in Maine is holiday cheer.

"If you are gathering indoors with a lot of people and you don't want to get sick or a loved one you live with who shouldn't get sick, you should consider wearing a mask," Mills said.

If you or your children do come down with something, Coastal Pharmacy and Wellness has some tips on what to do.

"Having enough medication on hand to kind of handle common symptoms that might come from respiratory illness like COVID, flu, the common cold, or even RSV," Justin Levesque, a pharmacist at Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness, said.

Tylenol and Advil can help bring your fever down, but these products may be hard to find right now.

"These products are hard to come by because of all the illnesses happening and a lot of folks are buying them just to stalk up," Levesque said. 

"There may be a shortage at one pharmacy then there might not be across town and then even the pharmacy that has a shortage one day might not the next," Mills said. 

If you are unable to find generic over-the-counter medication, compound pharmacies, where they can make generic Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and medications from scratch, could be a solution. 

Doctors state that fevers don't always need to be treated, as they are the body's natural defense against infection. Children also do fairly well without over-the-counter medications.

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