BLOOMINGTON, Ill (WMBD) — COVID-19 isn’t the only scary disease spreading this time of year; medical professionals are warning of a potential triple-demic of viruses including COVID-19, the yearly flu and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

RSV the flu, and COVID-19, are all respiratory viruses spreading in Central Illinois.

“It’s cold, we go inside, we’re exposed to each other in dry over-circulated air that’s not outside, we’re closer together and respiratory illnesses spread that way,” said public affairs coordinator, Marianne Manko.

The United States is entering its third winter with COVID-19 and the yearly flu spreading at the same time.

“You want to stay up to date on your vaccinations, get that seasonal flu shot,” Manko said.

But doctors warn an older virus, the respiratory syncytial virus is on the rise nationally and locally in Peoria and Bloomington-Normal.

“It’s been around much longer than COVID and even though we’re seeing an increase in cases now, it’s something we are comfortable managing,” said Dr. Terry Ho, a pediatrician at OSF in Peoria.

RSV symptoms include; sore throat, fever chills and aches, and is seen by doctors here in central Illinois every year.

“One of the unique things that we’re seeing is that it’s happening a little bit sooner than normal,” Ho said.

Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Carle in Bloomington-Normal said there are many theories as to why RSV has spread more rapidly and earlier this year.

“The one I like the most is for the past couple of years, we had schools and places shut down; now that a lot of those restrictions are being lifted, kids are starting to get more seasonal viruses again because kids sharing germs like they naturally do,” Traeger said.

Unlike COVID and the flu, RSV is spread mainly by touching infected surfaces, which makes it more common among kids and affects children under two more severely.

“Those kids that are the most susceptible to RSV Bronchiolitis or lower respiratory tract infections from RSV; what do they do, everything they touch just goes right in their mouths and that’s why kids seem to get this so frequently,” Traeger said.

Doctors said for most, RSV is no worse than a cold, but if you’re concerned about your kid’s symptoms, you’re advised to seek medical attention.

Both doctors and the health department are urging people to get COVID-19 boosters and a yearly flu shot. In McLean County, the health department offers both.