Upper Respiratory Virus Spreads Easily in Holiday Season - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Upper Respiratory Virus Spreads Easily in Holiday Season

'Tis the season for upper respiratory virus cases



    Health officials say there are relatively few cases of influenza, but clinics are reporting plenty of upper respiratory virus cases.

    Dr. Martin Jones, CareNow regional medical director, said patients start off with a scratchy throat that progresses into a runny nose, cough and congestion.

    Doctors can do little to treat the virus but say it is short-lived.

    "This viral infection tends to be resolving in about four days or so … You can take something over the counter or, if that's not strong enough and you need something that's going to make you feel even better … you can come into the clinics or see your doctor, and there's something more they can probably do for you," Jones said.

    Lots of People Sick, But It's Not the Flu

    [DFW] Lots of People Sick, But It's Not the Flu
    Health officials say it's not the flu that's going around, but an upper respiratory virus that's relatively short-lived.
    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011)

    Doctors say the holiday season could be partly to blame. People cram into packed shopping malls and gather for parties, spreading germs wherever they go.

    "When you have a few people that are coughing, that are spreading this infection, it progresses quite readily," Jones said.

    Valerie Tafoia was at a CareNow clinic on Wednesday because of an upper respiratory virus. She deals with a lot of people at work and likely caught it there.

    "I had a sore throat," she said. "It started yesterday -- it was just a little scratchy -- and this morning, it was pretty bad, so I decided I better get checked out before I went in to work."

    She said she doesn't have the luxury of staying home but will do her best to keep her co-workers and customers healthy.

    "We have sanitizers there and wet wipes, we try and keep everything sanitized because there are people coming in and out," Tafoia said.

    Doctors say patients with an infant in the household need to be exceptionally careful because RSV cases can lead to breathing problems and hospitalization in babies.

    NBC 5's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.