MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, are trending downward but health officials say you should still take precautions.

Alabama Department of Public Health Dr. Wes Stubblefield says the virus affects the lower airways and is particularly common in children under one year, adults over 65 and anyone with a compromised immune system.

It can present with common cold symptoms and is highly contagious through respiratory droplets.

“It’s not unusual to see an entire daycare classroom affected by just one or two students,” Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield says there’s no specific treatment, no vaccine to prevent it, and in severe cases, it can lead to hospitalization.

“I really discourage gatherings at all around newborn infants for their first six to eight weeks, especially if they’re premature,” Stubblefield said.

Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson says with fewer COVID precautions in place, hospitals have been busy with respiratory illnesses but are able to handle the influx.

“Probably it’s a little busier in terms of RSV now than it would normally have been, but we’re not in a situation where we’re overwhelmed. Now that’s not to say we couldn’t see another increase,” Williamson said.

He says ahead of Thanksgiving, stay home if you’re sick, and even if you’re well, continue practicing good hygiene.

“If you’re coughing, cover your cough. Wash your hands. Don’t get in the face of someone if you are coughing and ill. It’s common sense; it helps.”

Stubblefield says if your child is having difficulty breathing or other symptoms associated with RSV to see a doctor.