12/31/10 — Increase in cold, flu and viruses seen

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Increase in cold, flu and viruses seen

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 31, 2010 1:46 PM

What's with all the stuffy noses, coughing and stomach ills that seem to have come out of nowhere?

Cold weather and the holidays seem to have brought with them a rash of cold and flu symptoms.

Fortunately, though, in most cases, the "bug" departs as quickly as it came, local medical officials say.

"It's the season right now, common colds," said Wayne County Health Director James Roosen on Thursday, adding that the county has seen an increase in the flu recently as well.

"I'm not sure how severe the flu symptoms are, but we're seeing an increase in North Carolina," Roosen said. "That's why it's so important to get the vaccination if they can."

Even the Health Department is not immune to whatever bug is circulating, Roosen said.

"I have seen some people ill here at the Health Department, sniffling, coughing, that type of thing," he said. "Some folks stay home and some stay on the job.

"If you have public contact, the best thing to do would be to stay home instead of transmitting whatever you have to other people," he warned.

Children are particularly susceptible to viruses, and Dr. Dave Tayloe of Goldsboro Pediatrics said physicians are responding.

"We're seeing a fair number of kids with fever and things like that," he said Thursday. "The little ones are causing their parents a lot of angst because they can't tell their parents where it hurts.

"These children are not requiring hospitalization but require testing in our office. We're seeing a fair amount of flus, influenza A and influenza B. Those types of flu are circulating in our community right now."

Nothing to warrant its being declared an epidemic, though, Tayloe said.

"We're not seeing RSV, which is viral pneumonia that the little babies get and puts them in the hospital," he said. "Most of what we're seeing is some type of virus that causes fever and lasts one day, not the five to seven days that you see with the flu."

The best thing to do in the case of children is to pay attention to their behavior, Tayloe said.

Certainly, if there is a fever and the youngster acts sick, a response is needed, even if it is to be treated symptomatically at home.

"If they're smiling, playing, responding to Tylenol, that's probably a good sign," the doctor said. "But if they're laying around and act like they don't feel good, they need to be evaluated."

Goldsboro Pediatrics has seen several cases of children with vomiting and diarrhea but not in any great numbers, Tayloe said.

No matter the age, whenever a cold or stomach bug begins making the rounds in a family or community, there are several preventive measures he recommends.

"Just strict hand-washing, be careful about eating and drinking after other people, get good regular sleep and take care of yourself," he said.

And realize that the youngest population is especially vulnerable.

"The younger ones would be more likely to have never had these viruses today so they're at risk to get sick," Tayloe said. "Those particularly over the age of 7 years have seen these viruses at least once. Our immune systems will keep us from getting wiped out, and we may develop a mild form of the virus."

Tayloe said there are three things he usually advises parents to be on the lookout for after an office visit -- "call if you really think the child is having breathing difficulty, persisting vomiting or appears worse with a high fever or a rash."