PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia doctors are dealing with a surge of illnesses. Along with the expected onslaught of flu cases, doctors say they’re also seeing an increase in all sorts of respiratory ailments.
The sickouts are mounting. Some are serious with the flu, which can be especially dangerous for children and seniors, but there are also other infections that seem to be lasting a long time.
The flu season is peaking, but there’s also a lot of respiratory illnesses.
“There’s a lingering cough, low-grade cough seeing in a lot of people,” said Dr. Mari Siegel of Jefferson Health. “The treatment for that is just cough suppression.”
Siegel says they’re getting slammed with patients in the hospital’s emergency department.
“We’re getting the expected flu volume but we’re also getting a lot of patients coming in with cough, fevers and they’re testing positive for RSV,” she explained.
RSV is a respiratory virus that’s found mainly in children. It’s contagious and now showing up more in adults.
“There really aren’t great treatment for these viruses, you just need to stay home, drink fluids, take your time,” Siegel said.
Many are wondering if the fluctuating weather could be to blame. After cold temperatures and snow squalls, it’s suddenly nice and mild, and we could see even warmer temperatures in the forecast.
“For the general population, it’s not going to make a difference,” Siegel said.
However, Siegel says people with asthma and allergies do have trouble with weather changes, and there have been a lot of asthma flares.
Colds, the flu and respiratory illnesses are caused by exposure to germs that comes from being in close contact with other people, not the weather.
“There’s an old wives’ tale that if you go out without socks, without a hat, that you’re going to get sick,” Siegel said. “But it’s not going outside in the cold that causes people to get sick.”
With so many sick people, doctors say it’s especially important to wash your hands a lot. And if you’re sick, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stay home.