ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — December through April is prime time for strep throat season, and Central Illinois doctors said that the severity of the cases they are seeing is concerning.

Health leaders said that two kids under the age of 10 have recently died due to strep infections in Central Illinois. They said that they are seeing more cases of invasive infections cause by the Group A strep bacteria.

Leaders with OSF Healthcare said that strep throat is spread through droplets, with symptoms including a sore throat and fever.

However, the ways to prevent it are straight forward.

“It’s back to your basics,” said Jamie Almasy, infection prevention director at OSF. “Really good hand hygiene, make sure you’re covering your cough. If you are sick or have symptoms of strep throat, make sure you go and get tested.”

She recommended that residents should keep their distance from other people if they are feeling ill, as well as staying up to date on vaccinations.