Viral infections, seasonal allergies common this week

Expert: Back-to-school is a major contributing factor

Author: Tim Gerber , Reporter, tgerber@ksat.com
Published On: Sep 26 2012 09:38:16 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 27 2012 02:59:22 AM CDT
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SAN ANTONIO -

If you're feeling a bit under the weather, you're not alone. Local clinics are seeing an increase in viral infections and seasonal allergies this week.

"Just kind of run of the mill standard things that we see this time of year," said Dr. Joseph Elizondo, a clinic medical director at Texas Med Clinic.

Elizondo said patients seeking treatment at San Antonio area Texas Med Clinics are coming in with typical ailments for this time of year.

"We're seeing a lot of viral type infections like upper respiratory infections, sinus infections and gastroenteritis," Elizondo said. "We're seeing a huge increase of about 50% in strep throat and strep laryngitis which is highly contagious."

According to Elizondo, strep throat cases jumped from 354 to 527 in one week. Upper respiratory infections climbed from 1068 to 1232 in the same time frame.

Elizondo said a big factor in the rise is the fact that kids are back in school.

"You tend to see those anywhere you have a huge influx of people into a smaller area so consequently good hygiene and those types of things become an issue if they aren't done appropriately," Elizondo said.

If you aren't feeling up to par, it might not be an infection. It could just be fall allergies that are keeping you down.

"Allergies are kicking up. We're seeing a huge increase in that," Elizondo said. "Ragweed is kind of on the rise so we're having a lot of people misinterpreting allergies for a possible upper respiratory infection."

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a viral infection and allergy symptoms. Dr. Elizondo said allergy sufferers typically have watery eyes, a lot of sneezing and some coughing while the symptoms for a viral infection include fatigue, low-grade fever, and a general feeling of malaise.

While it's too soon to tell what the flu season will be like, Elizondo said now is a good time to think about getting your flu shot before the season hits in mid-December.

"If you can get it anywhere between now and mid-November I think you're doing well."