'tripledemic' | 

New antigen test will do 3-in-1 check for Covid, flu and RSV

A fever, sore throat and cough are common symptoms across all three viruses, with the triple test helping to narrow things down.

The new "triple antigen test."

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A new “triple antigen test” allows people to check if their illness is Covid-19, flu or RSV.

The three-in-one test has been rolled out to help put an end to any confusion of symptoms between the viruses.

Dubbed a “tripledemic” of infections, the three viruses have been causing a “perfect storm” of illness that is contributing to recent hospital overcrowding, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said.

Irish pharmacist Sheena Mitchell has urged people to stock up on her tests to help diagnose a sick person’s illness – especially in youngsters and the elderly.

A fever, sore throat and cough are common symptoms across all three ailments, with the triple test helping to narrow things down.

"Since the symptoms of the Flu virus are similar to those of RSV and Covid19, particularly in young children, a triple virus antigen test is useful for diagnosis, and to help parents and medical professionals make important health decisions,” a spokesperson for Wonderbaba.ie said.

"Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to each of these three viruses currently in wide circulation, and both pharmacists and GPs will be able to better advise their patients as to the treatment options when they know which virus they are dealing with.”

The triple antigen tests are available for €6.75 for a single test and €29.85 for a multipack of five.

“As we know, viruses do not respond to antibiotics so best practice medical advice will usually be to treat the symptoms and make the patient comfortable,” added pharmacist Sheena.

"Your local community pharmacist will be able to advise you on the best course of at-home treatment.

"However, some viruses like RSV and Influenza have the potential for the development of a secondary bacterial infection following the initial viral infection.

"This is where you will need to seek the advice of your local doctor. For the very young and the very old, if you are concerned and can’t reach your own doctor or their out of hours service, then a trip to accident and emergency in hospital may be required.”

The new tests come as HSE chief Stephen Mulvaney has warned that the flu outbreak as not yet peaked.

It means struggling hospitals, which have been impacted by the winter explosion in viruses, including flu, Covid and RSV will remain under unprecedented pressure.

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