What's Going Around: upper respiratory infections

What's Going Around: upper respiratory infections

It is rare during the dog days of summer to talk about respiratory infections making more people sick, but that is What's Going Around this week.

Dr. Robert Anderson with Calcasieu Urgent Care says the symptoms vary a bit from the respiratory infections of the winter months and there is a reason people are seeking medical treatment sooner. 

Having a cold, or viral upper respiratory infection, is miserable any time of  year, but in the heat and humidity of summer, the symptoms can feel even more suffocating as you try to breathe clearly.

"What happens is a lot of people in the spring and late summer, they have a lot of seasonal allergy issues and so all of your passages get kind of inflamed and blocked up and that just starts the cycle," said Dr. Anderson.

Seasonal allergy sufferers can be especially susceptible to upper respiratory infections, a sickness that is bringing more people to the Calcasieu Urgent Care clinics in Lake Charles, Sulphur, and Moss Bluff this week.    

"More of the adults, really, but it's a lot more than in the past for some reason," said Dr. Anderson.  "It's more of the sinus, ears, upper respiratory.  It's not as much the chest."

The chest cold as it is commonly called is more of an issue in the cooler months.  This summer, Dr. Anderson says people's tolerance for the upper respiratory infections is pretty low.

"Their facial fullness, the congestion in the nose, the drainage in the throat seems to bother a lot of people," he said.  "They'll complain of a sore throat, also, and it's not usually a strep infection, it's more just an irritation from the sinus and the drainage going down."

Dr. Anderson says a prescription steroid can help with the inflammation.  If the infection is bacterial, antibiotics can help.

Most of the infections are viral in nature and that means waiting out the symptoms.  You can make them more bearable with lots of rest, extra fluids, and over-the-counter pain medications, decongestants, and antihistamines.

Dr. Anderson says he is also treating more people for skin infections.  He says it is important to wash a cut or laceration with soap and water as soon as possible.  If it is red, itching, burning, or showing discharge, get to the doctor as soon as possible.

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