AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Centers for Disease Control expects more people to get sick over the next few weeks as holiday gatherings start to pick up.

There’s a trio of viral threats including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza (flu) and COVID-19. Many children’s hospitals across the country are already experiencing a surge, fueled by a spike in respiratory viruses, leaving them with no free beds.

In Central Texas, doctors said they are gearing up for a busy December.

“We already have a surge or an increased number of cases of RSV and flu,” said Dr. Meena Iyer, chief medical officer with Dell Children’s Medical Center. “And we are starting to see an increase in COVID cases.”

With all these viral infections increasing at the same time Iyer said it’s possible to pick up more than one.

“Either they have RSV and COVID, or RSV and flu, or flu and COVID,” said Iyer. “I have not had someone having all three.”

Treatment varies for each virus. For COVID, there are antiviral medications like Remdesivr, for flu there’s Xofluza and Tamiflu, but for RSV there is no medication at the moment.

“There is no definite treatment like if you have pneumonia, we can give an antibiotic, but nothing like that is available for RSV,” said Iyer.

RSV tends to affect children under 2 years old, premature babies and children with health conditions like heart disease or asthma.

“He started having fever for about two days. He was throwing up. He wasn’t eating well,” said Erika Reynoso-Soto, whose 3-year-old son had RSV last year.

After a few trips to the doctor and a test for RSV, she found out he had more than one virus.

“It came out positive for RSV, which they hadn’t told me previously. He had rhinovirus and parainfluenza,” said Reynoso-Soto.

“If you have two different viruses, and you are sick, you have an increased risk of complications from the illness,” said Iyer.

Testing can help you identify which virus you have, but doctors still preach precautions to prevent them entirely, like getting vaccines, wearing masks and hand-washing.



  • Fever or chills
  • Respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache

Influenza (flu) is typically defined by a really rapid onset. You might be feeling fine one minute, then all of a sudden, you feel like you were hit by a freight train. You can expect:

  • Fever or chills
  • Respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headaches

Children tend to have more stomach symptoms with influenzas, such as stomachaches, vomiting and diarrhea — compared to RSV and COVID.

RSV results in runny noses and frequent sneezing, but it’s generally a milder infection compared to flu and COVID. Other RSV symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing
  • Decrease in appetite

In order to confirm which virus is causing infection, a nasal swab test would need to be ordered by your primary care physician.