ST. LOUIS – It’s the season for colds and flu. Many in the medical field are encouraging residents to get their flu shot now after a nasty virus has been making its way around.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page set an example by getting a flu shot Wednesday morning.

“There’s two reasons for people to get flu shots in September and October,” Page said. “First, is it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccination to take effect and start preventing the spread. Second, is if we can slow the spread of the flu early in the season, then there’s less momentum in it spreading less quickly in the community.”

Page encouraged people to take the flu seriously. Healthcare professionals are already seeing a respiratory illness named respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) making its way through the St. Louis region.

“One of the major ones that I am diagnosing a lot these past few weeks is RSV or respiratory syncytial virus,” said Dr. Diana Roukoz, Mercy Clinic pediatrician. “The symptoms tend to linger. It causes a lot of irritation and inflation in your small airways, so it causes a lot of mucus, and the cough is two to four weeks. And if you’re in daycare, and you’re unlucky to get hit with another virus and another virus. So, the symptoms just linger forever.”

Roukoz said the St. Louis region began seeing signs of RSV in the summertime. She said she had seen children aged two, five, and six who had to be intubated because of the virus.

It’s the reason why Roukoz is advising early flu shot because of RSV.

“Definitely get vaccinated for the flu and COVID,” she said.

Doctors said they are expecting a peak in flu, RSV, and COVID-19 coming earlier in the winter.