WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Flu, COVID, and RSV cases are on the rise in parts of the country, 22News is working for you with where these spikes are happening and how to protect you and your family.

It’s that time of year again, the weather is getting colder and people are spending more time indoors. But with the holiday season just around the corner, no one wants to come down with one of these viruses.

According to the CDC, this year’s flu season is off to an early start. Cases are rising mostly in the southeast and central parts of the country. The CDC map shows flu activity levels from October 15th, Georgia, New York City, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. all seeing a spike in cases.

“We don’t have any diagnosed cases of influenza in the city of West Springfield, yet,” said Jeanne Galloway, West Springfield’s Director of Public Health.

Galloway says this cases numbers locally will likely rise as this is an early flu season and its expected to be much worse than the last few years. According to the CDC, roughly 10.5 million Americans have received the flu vaccine, a slight decline from this time last year. However, it’s the best form of protection from severe illness.

(CDC)

“Get good sleep. Drink plenty of fluids, that are nonalcoholic, have no dehydrating kinds of things, and eat well. All those things that will generally keep you healthy,” said Galloway.

These precautions can also be used for RSV, which there is no vaccine for. Rhinoviruses and enteroviruses are also circulating earlier than usual, especially in kids. Doctors from Baystate Medical Center say that kids are getting hit harder this year because their immune systems are out of shape from COVID protocols. But for COVID and the flu, vaccines are available.

It takes about two weeks after a flu vaccine injection to provide full protection. The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot.

Differences between cold and flu symptoms

Common symptoms of a cold include:

  • sore throat
  • cough
  • congestion
  • runny/stuffy nose
  • slow onset of symptoms

Common symptoms of flu include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headaches
  • runny/stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • fast onset of symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms:

  • headaches
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • loss of taste and smell (biggest differentiator)
  • runny nose
  • congestion
  • cough
  • fatigue

RSV symptoms:

  • runny nose
  • decrease in appetite
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • fever
  • wheezing