DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As we head into the holiday season, local health leaders are warning families to take extra precautions as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases continue to rise.

“We just want to be sure we can roll into those holidays that we are safe and confident spending time with family and friends,” said Greene County Public Health Public Information Officer Laurie Fox.

Health Leaders say this could be the first holiday season in the midst of a triple-demic with influenza, COVID-19 and RSV cases all rising. Dayton Children’s says their ICU is at max capacity after reporting a record number of RSV cases this week. 

Serious cases of RSV may look like a fever, severe cough, wheezing with a high pitched noise that’s usually heard when breathing out, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, and the child may present a bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen.

“Once you’re over one or two, it’s just a faucet of runny nose and never gonna go away, but when they are really little that’s when it becomes more problematic,” said Division Chief of Dayton Children’s Kids Express Dr. Lisa Ziemnik.

Health leaders say adults over the age of 65 are also at serious risk of RSV so they’re urging families to take extra precautions this holiday season.

“The other thing is that this could get worse before it gets better, lots of handwashing, if your child is sick don’t send them to school,” said Dr. Ziemnik. “It wouldn’t be bad if you have a child that you’re worried about to have them mask again at school just for a couple of weeks to get them over that hump.”

Individuals who are at the greatest risk of severe infection are premature infants, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and anyone with a weak immune system.