SAN ANTONIO – If the sneezing, coughing, sore throat or fever haven’t hit you yet, chances are you know someone who has experienced one or more of those symptoms lately.
A variety of illnesses has left some San Antonians flat on their backs and others reaching for tissues, according to one local physician, Jeffrey Hoefle, M. D.
“We’ve seen some cases of strep (throat),” he said. “Allergies, bacterial infections, flu virus -- they’re all out there.”
Hoefle works at The Emergency Clinic at the Pearl, a health center that opened its doors on Broadway less than two months ago.
More and more patients lately, though, are finding their way there to seek treatment.
Hoefle said the flu is quickly becoming a more frequent complaint.
"From my perspective, seeing patients, we're starting to get a lot of positive tests, and so it's starting to kick in,” Hoefle said. "The body aches. It hits you all of a sudden, and then you feel like a train hit you.”
While the jury is still out on the effectiveness of some drugs used to treat the flu, Hoefle still recommends that anyone who feels the symptoms visit a doctor as soon as possible.
"And then we know you have it and we can treat your symptoms,” he said. “(It will) allow you to rest and allow you to quarantine yourself so you're not spreading it around."
Anne Shell, a nurse and mother, works hard to protect herself and her young children from illness.
She said she has taught her preschoolers prevention tips, such as coughing or sneezing into their elbows instead of their hands. That way they avoid spreading germs, she said.
"We don't want to be sick this holiday season,” Shell said. "I'm working Christmas, but we'll be traveling to the Metroplex. "
Hoefle believes, unfortunately, that holiday travel might bring a whole new wave of illness to the area.
He said people both visiting relatives outside the area, and coming home to San Antonio for Christmas may fall victim.
Washing hands and using hand sanitizers are good ways to prevent spreading germs, Hoefle said.