WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Communities across the region and country are being plagued by respiratory viruses.

This is what health officials have labeled a “triple threat” of viruses as cases of influenza, COVID-19 and RSV have skyrocketed.

This spike has concerned Jefferson County officials as Public Health said it is happening much earlier than in years past.

The latest data from New York State logged 481 cases of flu in one week in Jefferson County.

“It’s happening a lot earlier this year,” Jefferson County Public Health Educator Lisa Lagos explained. “We know there’s lots of infection right now, and the concern is for the holiday when people gather. We could see these cases go up even higher.”

JCPH warned that if these cases keep rising, the flood of illness could overwhelm local hospitals and pose risks to vulnerable populations.

“Most hospitalizations from the flu are from older adults who are 65 and older,” Lagos said. “And a lot of the hospitalizations for little kids are due to RSV.

Although it is the holiday season, Public Health has urged the community to take preventative measures, such as frequent hand washing and staying home if sick.

“It’s very important that if you feel sick, and not just a fever, but if you have a sore throat, if you feel congested, have a headache, it’s really best to stay home,” Lagos added. “So that you’re not spreading the infection to anyone else.”

Below are symptoms of flu, COVID-19 and RSV to be on the lookout for:

Influenza

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

COVID-19

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

RSV

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing