Parents are being urged to keep children safe this winter as a contagious virus that poses a threat to children sparks concerns. 

With worries arising of a potential 'tripledemic' this winter, the NHS is already prepared for the 'twindemic', seeing the rising cases of flu and Covid. 

However, now an expert has shared that there is a third illness that people may need to keep an eye out for. 

The common respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) which causes mild, cold-like symptoms returns in the cooler months. 

In Cumbria: PAPA (Image: PA)

Although it's very rare for the illness to create serious health problems, it can cause in some cases pneumonia and swelling of the airwaves in babies, the elderly and vulnerable people.

Many people recover within a short period of time, typically a week or two, but when RSV is serious it can harm infants and older adults. 

RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalisations within the nation, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) seeing a third of under-fives with respiratory symptoms swabbed test positive for the illness. 

Recent high vaccination levels have seen a large number of people protected from the flu and Covid, but RSV can still be severe for young people. 

Although it can be harmful and fears of a 'tripledemic' have been raised, experts have shut the claims down. 

Professor Amitava Banerjee, from the Institute of Health Informatics and UCL told The Mirror: "In my view the word 'tripledemic' is just the latest soundbite and we do not necessarily know that RSV will be as big a threat.

"I think far greater potential threats to the NHS is due to chronic underfunding, chronic understaffing and the indirect and long-term effects of Covid."