The coronavirus pandemic continues in the United States as the delta variant keeps sweeping its way through the country. But experts have warned of another virus popping up in pockets — respiratory syncytial virus, a viral illness that can cause breathing issues and coughs.

RSV vs. COVID-19

Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant Health, told WRIC in Virginia that there’s been an increase in RSV cases as of late, which has made it hard to distinguish who has been infected with the novel coronavirus, the common cold, RSV or other medical issues.

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This has been going on for some time. In June, doctors across the country said they noticed an uptick in respiratory illnesses among people as gatherings increased and masks were taken off, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “Starting in March, we started to see an increase in all of the non-COVID viruses, respiratory viruses, like RSV, parainfluenza, some of the seasonal cold coronaviruses,” said Dr. Wesley Long, the medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist, according to KTRK.

Experts recommend that people need to get a COVID-19 test if they want to distinguish their illness.

  • “All three COVID-19 vaccines appear to stand up to the variant, but experts say the chance of getting the virus is much lower in someone who is fully vaccinated than in someone who is not,” WRIC reports.
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What are the RSV symptoms?

Cedars-Sinai, a nonprofit hospital in Los Angeles, outlined the top RSV symptoms that you might get if you’re infected with respiratory illness. Here’s the full list of common symptoms for RSV:

  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing for short periods
  • Trouble eating, drinking or swallowing
  • Wheezings
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Fast breathing
  • Blue lips and fingertips

It should be noted that RSV is a common illness in children and the elderly, according to Cedars-Sinai.

  • “The symptoms of RSV can seem like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her health care provider for a diagnosis,” Cedars-Sinai said.