NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sickness is sweeping across Tennessee and as a result, multiple school districts are closed Monday morning as emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics fill up.

Two school districts in WKRN’s viewing area —  Coffee and Perry County — announced that their doors would be closed on Monday in an effort to keep students healthy.

“Many of our colleagues are describing this as some of the most significant, you know, stressors that they’ve seen in quite a long time,” said Dr. Jason Yaun, president of the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Traditionally, flu season comes in late fall, or early winter. Dr. Yaun said the early peak this year comes from children being exposed to viruses they haven’t experienced before, due to two years of COVID-19 mitigations.

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt reported that since late September, they have had over 20% RSV positivity rate among hospitalized patients who were tested for respiratory viruses. In 2018 and 2019, positivity rates were below 5% for the same time period.

However, those numbers aren’t only in Tennessee. In fact, hospitals nationwide are seeing the surge.

Dr. Yaun said experts are not sure if an early uptick will lead to the season ending sooner or a longer period of illness.

“I think we’re seeing it go through a lot of children right now,” said Dr. Yaun. “We may see that peak and then come down, but we may continue to see that happen at different periods and we may see different spikes in the different viruses.”

Dr. Yaun says if your child is sick, do not let the numbers discourage you from taking them in for medical attention. He recommended reaching out to your pediatrician as a first step.