(WHTM) — Over September and October, a surge of cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, has landed a lot of kids in the hospital. The virus can be dangerous for children, and the rise in hospitalizations is straining hospital systems across the country, including in the Midstate.

abc27 looked into whether RSV is also dangers for populations like the elderly.

“RSV primarily affects children,” UPMC infectious disease specialist Dr. John Goldman said. “All of the pediatric beds are busy and all the pediatric intensive care units are busy.”

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Goldman said cases are not spiking up, but they are not going down either.

“I think we’re seeing pretty steady cases of RSV coming in,” he said.

However, it is not only children who could be in danger. Goldman said adults over 50 can be at higher risk of severe illness too.

“It’s a frequent cause of hospitalizations, semi-frequent cause of severe disease,” he said.

Add underlying heart and lung conditions and the risk is even higher.

“It not only can cause an illness, but it can make your congestive heart failure worse, it can make your asthma worse,” Goldman said.

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Goldman said underlying conditions include long-lasting effects from COVID-19.

“If however, you had COVID and you still have some damage to your lungs, your risk from any viral infection, including RSV, would be higher,” he said.

The good news is, he said RSV nowhere near as severe as COVID. He said it is closer to the flu, maybe even milder in some cases.

“It doesn’t cause, for example, the same amount of severe disease, same amount of hospitalizations, same amount of death that COVID does,” Goldman said.

Plus he said there are simple steps to stay safe, like washing hands and staying home if you feel sick.

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“The common sense things…that your mom used to tell you…will all help slow this down,” he said.

Goldman said his biggest concern, calling it a “pit in his stomach,” is not just the surge in RSV. He said we are also seeing higher than normal numbers of flu cases and COVID cases are starting to rise. He said we could be facing a “triple-demic”.