GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — COVID, RSV and the flu are all being watched closely by health experts as we approach the season full of respiratory illnesses.

Last year, healthcare systems were stretched thin when all three surged. Could we be heading for the same situation this year?

Local health leaders say it’s unlikely that we could face the same surges as last year, but health officials are asking you to get vaccinated and vaccinate your kids to make sure numbers don’t reach those same highs.

“We really want to avoid that impact that we had last year and years prior where the healthcare system is so overloaded,” said Dr. Cynthia Snider the medical director for infection prevention at Cone Health.

She is asking you do to your part while the hospitals do theirs.

“A lot of hospitals, including Cone Health, are preparing and trying to figure out should we set up respiratory clinics and vaccine clinics,” Dr. Snider said.

Vaccines will be available for all three. The RSV vaccine is in stock now and available to anyone 60 and older, pregnant women and people with underlying conditions.

The flu vaccine will be widely available in the coming weeks for anyone six months or older.

The latest COVID booster shot, aimed at fighting omicron and it’s subvariants, is expected to be available by the end of this month. There is no word yet on if it will be recommended for everyone.

“I don’t know how people are going to respond to the vaccines now because it has been a while since we have been giving vaccines on a regular basis during COVID, so now we just don’t know what to expect, but we are prepared,” said Tammy Koonce from the Guilford County Health Department.

For the 60-plus population who qualifies for all three, you can get all the shots at the same time.

“I think people do feel maybe some more side effects, so there is going to be more soreness in the arms, feeling achy and maybe a low-grade fever,” Dr. Snider said.

Within the last few weeks, the emergency rooms and urgent cares have been seeing more people with respiratory illnesses.

Cone Health expects to start to see RSV cases in the coming weeks. They’ve had one flu hospitalization, and COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

“Even though our COVID numbers are lower right now, we are still seeing a couple of deaths every day of folks who are older who have lost immunity or have more complicated health histories,” Dr. Snider said.

It’s difficult to determine what the coming months will bring, but experts expect RSV will be the least threatening this year.

“I am concerned that flu and COVID will have a severe impact on those who are most frail,” Dr. Snider said.