With school starting up and people staying inside more as the weather cools, viruses come out to play.
This fall, health experts have advised that individuals take precautions to prevent the spread of disease. The peak for various illnesses can occur at different times throughout the fall and winter seasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu picks up in October but that most people become infected between December and February.
With so many illnesses to watch out for, it can be hard to self-diagnose exactly what illness you may have.
Here’s a list of the most common sicknesses to be aware of this fall, and their symptoms, according to health experts.
Table of Contents
What are flu symptoms?
Similar to a common cold, the flu can start out with a runny nose, cough and sore throat. What makes the flu different is it quickly turns “into headaches, fever or chills, aching muscles and joints, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness,” per the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.
In some instances, vomiting and diarrhea can occur, but is more often in children.
According to Penn Medicine, “The first symptom is a fever between 102°F (39°C) and 106°F (41°C). An adult often has a lower fever than a child.”
Symptoms generally last somewhere between four and seven days, while coughing and fatigue can last longer, per Penn Medicine.
What are RSV symptoms?
Nearly every child will have had respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) by their second birthday, according to the CDC.
Although symptoms can be flu-like, unlike the flu, RSV’s symptoms usually appear in stages rather than all at once.
According to the CDC, symptoms can include:
- Runny nose.
- Decrease in appetite.
Janelle Delgadillo, an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, previously told the Deseret News that all ages can get RSV.
“The concern regarding children and adults over 65 is that they tend to be more severely ill,” she said. “But really, anyone can have an RSV infection.”
Medication is not often recommended to fight off RSV infection, the CDC said. An RSV infection will usually go away on its own after a week or two.
Like all illnesses, if symptoms get worse, health experts recommend seeking out help from a medical professional.
What are COVID-19 symptoms?
The most common case of COVID-19 in the U.S. right now is officially known as “EG.5.” The variant was given the nickname “Eris” and was first detected in Utah in early June, the Deseret News reported.
Adam Ratner, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at New York University Langone, told Verywell Health, “Especially because numbers are on the way up, people should move COVID back into their minds in terms of something they should be thinking about testing for if they’re not feeling well.”
Ratner added that experts haven’t seen anything “at this point that indicates that EG.5 causes substantially different or substantially more severe disease.”
Early symptoms of COVID-19 can be mistaken for the flu because they can begin as a fever and sore throat.
According to Prevention, so far, Eris has similar symptoms to other variants of COVID-19. Those symptoms can include breathing difficulty, fatigue, body aches, congestion and vomiting.
“Think of omicron as the ‘grandfather’ of Eris,” William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Prevention. “Eris is highly contagious, as was omicron, but it is not causing more severe disease. That’s very, very good.”