Albertans are being warned about a serious respiratory infection making its way through the province.

Alberta Health Services says so far this winter, it's received reports of 14 confirmed outbreaks of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, four of them here in the Central Zone.

Officials say that well exceeds the four outbreaks they saw during all of last winter in the province.

Dr. Ifeoma Achebe says there's no vaccine to prevent the virus, but there are things you can do to prevent it from spreading or catching it “simply if you are sick stay home, wash your hands, cover your cough, RSV can be really severe in infants and the elderly and so if we have those people around us exercise more caution when you are coughing”.

Achebe says RSV usually presents itself as a bad cold, but for some people -- especially infants and children -- it can lead to severe health issues that require treatment at a hospital.

For healthy adults, Achebe says there is no need to go to the hospital, stay home, let the viral infection run its course, 5-7 days and you’re usually out of it, a trip to the hospital is only necessary if the symptoms are really, really severe.