GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – We’re well past the hustle of the holiday season, but a slew of illnesses linger in its wake.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, 7NEWS spoke with a nurse practitioner about identifying what you’ve got.

A cough, a sneeze seems to sound like a surge in respiratory illnesses post-holiday season, which for many lacked social distancing.

“Family and friends getting together to celebrate the holidays, you have a lot more airplane travel that was happening during that time, so people condensed into a tighter setting,” said Elizabeth Lacy.

Elizabeth Lacy, a nurse practitioner, said these reasons, along with it being one of the coldest holiday seasons on record, contributed to so many feeling under the weather.

“So, everyone was indoors. I don’t think there was a lot of outdoor activity at that time. So, just the more condensed settings mean more likelihood for people transmitting diseases,” said Lacy.

Lacy said COVID-19 is on the rise and influenza is trending down.

“That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be another surge of influenza. It’s definitely out there. We are still in the middle of the season. We’ve got several months to go. So, there could be another surge coming for influenza as well.”

Elizabeth Lacy, Nurse Practitioner, Bon Secours St. Francis

Some people are testing negative for both COVID-19 & the flu.

“There are other things going around… We’re actually seeing a lot of folks coming in with upper respiratory infection symptoms,” said Lacy.

Respiratory viruses, like RSV, really surged at the end of last year and Lacy said it’s still circulating.

“Still some folks are getting sick, but it tends to hit the younger children or the older people much more severely,” said Lacy.

So, how do you know whether it’s COVID-19, the flu, RSV, or something else?

“The ultimate way to tell is to get the testing. That’s really the only way to know for sure which one you have,” Lucy said.

The symptoms are similar, so it can be hard to use them as an indicator.

“Common symptoms will include headache, congestion, and runny nose. You may have a cough and/or sore throat. Typically, Covid and the flu are the ones where you’ll see fever and your body aches. You don’t see those as much just with a common cold or with RSV,” said Lacy.

Lacy said the flu tends to hit people hard and fast, whereas covid and the common cold tend to have a slower onset of symptoms. She says testing is still the best way to know for sure and it’s usually a quick nasal swab.

Click here to submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series.