Across the country, 38 states are experiencing high or very high levels of respiratory illness activity, including California.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- From the common cold to the flu and COVID-19, respiratory illnesses are on the rise.
"Emergency departments, urgent care centers, and hospitals are seeing a lot of patients with respiratory illness," said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
Across the country, 38 states are experiencing high, or very high levels, of respiratory illness activity, including California.
"We have increased our capacity in the hospitals so we can care for all of our patients," said Dr. Brad Baldridge, an emergency room doctor and chairman of the department at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, weekly hospitalizations for the flu have increased 35% and 20% for COVID-19.
Adults older than 65 experienced the highest rate of hospitalization. Meantime, children under four have the highest hospitalization rate for RSV, which is starting to see a decrease in some areas.
"RSV looks like it peaked a couple of weeks ago, and it's coming down," said Ferrer.
Medical experts recommend testing.
"It may actually be something that's treatable," said Dr. Nathan Newman, a medical director at Exer Urgent Care. "We've got medications that are antiviral to treat influenza, and that can treat COVID that keep you out of the hospital, keep you healthier."
Despite the winter uptick, Ferrer said there are fewer deaths than in the past.
"We average about somewhere between 3 and 5 deaths a day," Ferrer said. "Even last winter, we were averaging between 7 and 10 deaths a day, and some days, in the peak season, it was even higher."
Other recommendations include getting vaccinated.
"Both flu and COVID will last for a while, so I do encourage people to go ahead and take advantage of those vaccines. Some people are eligible for RSV, older people," Ferrer said.
Wearing a face covering remains a practical and effective way to protect yourself.
"If you're taking public transportation, if you're in a group setting, you may be the first one in the group to wear the mask, but you may also be the one who doesn't get sick," said Baldridge, adding that face masks, vaccines, and hand washing have largely helped keep the hospital's staff safe. "We're quite careful. So our staff is really been pretty unaffected by it."