ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As respiratory viruses continue to spread throughout the Rochester area, experts from the University of Rochester Medical Center want to remind folks to remain vigilant and how to do so properly.

Dr. Hannah Root from URMC explains RSV is a common respiratory virus that’s been around for decades, one that particularly spikes in the winter season, especially this season.

“This virus affects absolutely everybody. But most importantly, it can make young kids, those under one year old, and elderly folks incredibly sick and end up in the hospital,” said Dr. Root. “In Monroe County this season, so far, we’ve diagnosed nearly over 3000 cases. And unfortunately, three people have died so far in the county, two are babies, and one elderly person.”

Dr. Root said RSV used to be one of the more common cold viruses pre-COVID.

“But now in the COVID area, we’re actually starting to diagnose folks with which virus they have. And usually is a cough, it’s feeling tired, people can have fever, they can have some trouble breathing. For most of us, it’s a common cold and you feel better in a few days after taking a rest at home. But for some people, particularly the young and the very old, they can have difficulty breathing, need oxygen, or need hydration support while they recover,” Dr. Root explained.

Those who have young children or who are caring for an older adult should question typical common cold symptoms in case it may be something more serious like RSV or COVID.

“It’s important to make sure you’re still drinking water. If you stop drinking any sort of water that’s a dangerous sign,” said Dr. Root. “If you’re having difficulty breathing, or if your young child looks like they’re having trouble breathing, that’s a really important time to either call your doctor or go in to see a doctor at urgent care.”

Dr. Root explains prevention is the highest priority especially as we head into the holiday season.

“It’s staying home when you’re sick, washing your hands, and it’s making sure to be very careful in big settings and that you’re wearing a mask if you can. As well as getting vaccinated for any viruses that you can like flu,” Dr. Root said.

That element of prevention is especially important, Dr. Root said, because vaccines for RSV are still under development.