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Illnesses abound at local clinic

Illnesses abound at local clinic
Illnesses abound at local clinic | RSV, Center for Disease Control

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It’s the time of year when noses run, throats hurt and coughs seem to never go away. Area residents are used to the illnesses that come with winter weather, but this year winter temperatures are much milder than in years past.
Milder temperatures do not mean that one’s chance of sickness is reduced. Doctor’s clinics across the county are as busy as ever helping residents fight “the funk.” This raises the question: what’s going around or “bugging” Weakley County?
Dr. Susan Brewer of Martin Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic of Martin reported seeing cases of RSV, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat and stomach virus among infants to school-age children.
RSV is particularly an illness to be aware of in children. According to the Center for Disease Control, almost all children will have an RSV infection by their second birthday. The CDC states when infants and children are exposed to RSV for the first time, 25 to 40 percent of them have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia and up to two percent will require hospitalization, most of which are under six months of age.
“Some symptoms of RSV parents can look out for are clear, stringy, running nasal discharge, tight cough and chest congestion,” stated Brewer. “There is usually no fever, so parents need to be aware of the other signs.”
The pediatrician said those three letters (RSV) can typically cause panic for parents, but the virus itself is indicative of the common cold in babies and infants.
Brewer said there is more need for alarm when it involves newborn babies.
“In school-age children, the stomach virus is affecting many of our youth. Stomach virus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and possible fever, she added.”
Dr. Sherri Page of Martin Children’s Clinic said she was beginning to see flu, some strep throat and RSV cases in her office.
“I strongly encourage everyone to keep their hands washed, and if at all possible, try not to expose babies to unnecessary germs,” stated Page. “Most importantly, keep sick children at home to help decrease the spread of germs.”  
Dr. Leslie Gibson of Dresden Specialty Clinic reported seeing cases of pink eye, sore and strep throat, bronchitis, and stomach bug.
“I do allergy testing here at the clinic,” stated Gibson. “Due to the warmer temperatures, everything is blooming early this year and we are swamped between allergy sufferers and our normal sick patients.”
Dr. J.C. Carey of The Gleason Clinic reported seeing normal winter sicknesses, but also warned patients to be aware that ticks have already been spotted this year. Surprisingly, Rocky Mountain spotted fever was an illness recently seen in his office.
According to the CDC, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an illness caused by a bacterial pathogen transmitted to humans through contact with ticks. It says the disease onset averages one week following the bite, and some of the symptoms, include but are not limited to, fever, rash, headaches and anemia. Age-specific illness is highest for children and older adults.
Carey also recently conducted a report on a program called “Up and Away and Out of Sight,” launched by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and other partners.
“This program is an effort to teach parents and other adult caregivers about medication safety,” said Carey.
“In recent years, children under five have been unintentionally overdosed by medications at a 20 percent rate of increase. The program encourages parents to be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach them.”
Carey added that every year, one of every 150 two year olds seen in the emergency room is for a medication overdose.
“More emergency visits and deaths come from prescription medication overdose, but the same recommendations apply to over the counter medications as well,” Carey stated in the report.
“The amount of medicine it takes to harm a child, overdose them, is significantly less than what an adult can take.”
“Store all medications in a location that is up and away and out of sight of children,” said Carey. In the report he also recommended talking to children about what medicine is, and not to tell children it is candy in an attempt to get them to take it.
If a child is found who looks like they have taken something, Carey suggested to find out what medicine it is and call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
With the unusual temperatures this February, it is as important as ever for parents to be aware of symptoms associated with illnesses related to both winter and spring seasons. Weakley County doctors are working hard to help treat people of all ages for a wide variety of sickness. For more information about symptoms or treatment, contact your local physician.

WCP 2.23.12