As New Jersey ditches the mask, the common cold is back.

One potential advantage of mask wearing and social distancing was a sharp drop in common cold and influenza infections. Now, as we ditch the mask and resume gathering with friends and family, both are making a comeback.

Medical experts say this was to be expected, and is actually a sign things are returning to normal.

Few in the medical community seem alarmed by the trend, but there is concern about the spike in another common virus known as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus.) RSV is so common, the Mayo Clinic says most children have been infected by the age of 2.

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RSV infects the lungs and respiratory tract and typically mimic the common cold. However, the Mayo clinic warns "RSV can cause severe infection in some people, including babies 12 months and younger (infants), especially premature infants, older adults, people with heart and lung disease, or anyone with a weak immune system (immunocompromised)."

Health officials told NorthJersey.com the level of RSV has been higher than typically expected, and they are monitoring the trend.

Another concern as these common viruses return is the fact they can mimic early COVID symptoms. That could complicate back-to-school plans.

While many school districts plan to forgo mask requirements, they do have other protocols in place. If a student showed symptoms and/or was running a fever, they could be required to stay home or quarantine.

Some doctors say kids can, and should, be tested for COVID if they show any signs.

Other medical experts say this is another reason to increase vaccination rates, so we can more easily distinguish between things like the common cold and an actual COVID infection.

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