(WWLP) – It’s not just the flu or COVID-19 parents need to worry about this fall and winter season but the highly contagious respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The virus often causes mild, cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, cough, and fever. For some, it can lead to serious illness, especially for infants and older adults.

According to the CDC, RSV causes 58,000 hospitalizations annually in children under the age of 5.

“A cough today is much more alarming than a cough from say two years ago before COVID happened,” said Karen Duffy of Hampden who is has a child in daycare. “I think no matter what we are always concerned about the health and safety of our kids and we just try to do the very best we can. We’ve spent a lot of time just being extra cautious in what we are doing.”

A spokesperson from Baystate Health told 22News there was an uptick in RSV cases earlier than usual this year. The infection is most prevalent during the months of December, January, and February. While cases are starting to see a decrease at Baystate Health, doctors expect it to pick up again in December.

Most infants are infected with RSV before they are one-year-old, and most children have had an RSV infection by two. RSV is also the most common cause of bronchiolitis and viral pneumonia in children under one. There is currently no vaccination to prevent RSV.