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Why are health officials concerned about a 'tripledemic?'

Flu, RSV and COVID could strain hospitals this winter.

HOUSTON — Hospitals and health officials are bracing for an unpleasant winter season, thanks to flu, RSV and COVID-19.

Flu and RSV are already surging in Texas and there are signs that COVID is preparing for a new wave. The combination of all three has the potential to sicken millions and overwhelm hospital systems, according to the New York Times.

RELATED: 'Wait times are up' | Earlier-than-normal uptick in RSV, flu cases leading to busy hospitals

In Texas, the flu season has started earlier than usual, with the current number of cases in the Houston area not usually seen until December or January. This comes as pandemic restrictions ease and there is less masking and social distancing. Health officials are asking people to get their flu shot as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, area children’s hospitals are also dealing with a surge in RSV, a respiratory virus that can be life-threatening in infants and young children. While we usually see a spike in winter months, RSV, just like the flu, has arrived early.

RELATED: RSV cases on the rise in children across the country | Check symptoms

Right now, COVID cases are low but there are signs in Europe and Asia that a new wave is coming. Places like France, Germany and Britain are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID.

Public health officials are particularly concerned about a group of omicron variants that are pretty good at evading immunity from vaccines and previous infections. Still, officials say vaccines are your best way to avoid serious illness.

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