Why Are So Many People Getting Sick?

By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Our cold weather is keeping us inside more often this season, and for that reason, germs are spreading. In fact, doctors in the Twin Cities say they’re spreading rapidly.

“I’m definitely seeing more cases this year than the last two years,” said Dr. Rachel Rapacz, a Family Medicine Physician at Hennepin County Medical Center’s Brooklyn Park Clinic.

She says she is treating upper respiratory infections in children and adults. A couple weeks ago, she says she treated three to four cases every day.

“We’re seeing more of these nagging, long-lasting, three to six week presentations of cough not getting better, but in some cases getting worse,” she said.

Rapacz says people are dealing with an atypical pneumonia or so-called “walking pneumonia” with a persistent cough. Other people have the flu, characterized with a high fever and body aches.

Some people can get away with over-the-counter drugs, while others need a prescription, she said. Rapacz suggests fluids and rest for anyone with a cold, and the best way to keep from getting sick
in the first place is by washing your hands.

These infections are spreading mainly because of our weather. It’s been consistently cold and we’ve seen a lot of snow. So, a lot of us are inside, close to other people. We’re coughing and sneezing, and our germs are spreading.

“Definitely been worse this year than previous years,” said Josh Rowland, a father with a boy and girl.

On Tuesday night, Rowland and his kids played inside at a Twin Cities indoor park.

Rowland’s son has fought three colds this season, and his daughter has fought two. Both children have had the common cold symptoms.

Rowland said he’s tired of the cold and all that goes along with it.

“Yea, yea, I’m ready for it to be over,” he said. “Spring can start any day now.”

  • Skeezer

    It’s called stay home when you’re sick – simple as that !!! Don’t come around me sneezing and coughing in my face, GET AWAY !!

    • Cold 7

      cough, cough , , , achewwwwww

      • Amy

        My family and I have had a cold with cough for over 2 weeks, are we supposed to stay in isolation for week upon week? That’s not very practical. I could understand doing that if it was a deadly disease, but it is just a cold. We try to be aware, and keep our germs to ourselves as much as possible, but total lock down inside the house because of a cold is just not practical.

    • Mike

      The fortune 500 company I work for promotes their policy of staying home when sick, unfortunately the message never makes it through the thick skull of the managers who determine your performance outcomes and would rather see you at work half dead then at home. Double standard? Of course it is, and if you think human resources is a place to discuss this unusual circumstance then be prepared to have your tools ready to load up into your vehicle when you receive your pink slip for not being a team player…………

  • Eartha

    Wash your hands. Very complex.

    • kim

      Washed my hands so much, the skin is all dried out. Still got the flu. Two-year old grandson coughed in my face….oh, well. Ya gotta love him anyway.

  • Mr T

    Maybe it’s the chemtrails that are being sprayed in the sky or the increase in flouridein the water. Maybe it’s the daily bad news about how we’re being ripped off by politicians and how we keep expanding the wars that’s depressing our immune system.

    All in all, it’s a sad state of affairs

  • Michele

    Mr T, I do seem to be more vulnerable to illness when I’m depressed about something. Hand washing is a big thing, but I’m amazed how many people drag sick kids out to shop, etc. I mean, it’s obvious that they’re sick: they’re coughing, they have rings under their eyes, they’re crabby. They need rest, not a dose of the useless OTC cough medicines.

    We’ve taken to drinking a cup of hot chicken stock on our way out the door in the morning. I understand it’s good hydration, and it’s so soothing. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I caught the bronchial garbage back in January, and it only lasted three days.

  • me

    Prevention is good, but when you’re sick….you sick period.

  • Pate

    Wash those hands,cover your coughs and sneezes,and use common sense.My hands are cracked from repeated hand-washing,but I also had just one cold since the start of winter.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    Getting the flu shot does not protect you from all viruses–just H1N1 and flu strains included with the shot. It does not protect you from stomach viruses (norovirus), cold, pneumonia, or other respiratory viruses. There is a shot you can get against pneumonia. There is a respiratory virus going around that mimics pertussis (whooping cough). It will last for weeks and consist of a gagging couch that leads to virus. True pertussis is caused by a bacterial infection and included in the DAPT shot (formerly DTP). This is a serious disease, babies have died. My son was hospitalized with pneumonia and is on antibiotics. Diseases caused by viruses are hard to treat–you just have to treat the symptoms.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    correction in above statement. Pertussis-like ailment causes cough which leads to gagging and vomiting.

  • rach

    i would love to stay home when i’m sick or when my kids are sick, but being a single mother i am out of sick time, which means i would have to take no pay for missing work, along with getting in trouble as we are only allowed 3 days of sick per year. I have bills to pay and kids to feed so i need the money.

    • Michele

      Rach, we all do what we have to do, and why is it choices just never get easier? I’m glad mine are raised, because it just seems things get harder and harder. But there is a difference between what we need to do, and what we want to do. I guess the trick here when you are planning to go out with a sick child is to ask yourself, “Is this something that HAS to be done now?” And then don’t feel guilty or torn for the rest. Guilt never makes for good parenting. : )

  • jimmy

    WE have the technolgy to make inside air as healthy as outside air..Problem is energy management companies control how much outdoor air is brought in and they get paid to run it on the cheap.

  • Jimbo

    Folks, get you and yours vitamin D levels checked. Cold and flu germs are present year round, not just in winter. Low D levels (lack of sunlight) plague folks at our latitude during winter months resulting in weakened immune systems. Yes, close proximity does help to spread these germs but a strong immune system will deter many of these grems from taking hold or at least will help to keep their visit a short one. Your D level should be 50 ng/ml. Vitamin D3 supplements are extremely cheap if you are not eating salmon regularly or if you live in our sun-starved region. Vitamin D is produced from sun exposure on our skin using cholesterol. Get it via supplement from fall to spring.

  • ICouldBeYourGrandma

    As a senior citizen who lives alone without children close to visit often, I rarely have visitors. Unless I leave my apartment, there are many days I see no one. (I’m on the phone ALOT, though. LOL) I came home from the hospital on oxygen after a bout of pneumonia a few years ago. When the next winter came around, I found that EVERY TIME I went out, I got sick! The same thing happened the following winter, although suspecting this to be the case, I went out fewer times.

    This winter I’ve gone out less than one time a month in my effort to stay healthy. I made it just fine — until two weeks ago. Going to our local pharmacy to purchase a couple of non-pharmaceutical products they had on sale, I ended up in the check out line with a woman who was getting two strong antibiotics and the “strongest cough syrup made”. She had earlier remarked to me, “It isn’t any fun being out when you’re sick, is it?” I thought perhaps she was talking about me because I was catching that little nasal drip alot of us gets when we come in from the cold. But, NO, here she was — getting all that medicine — so she had been talking about herself!

    Dang it, people! After you’ve been to the doctor’s office, GO HOME and take care of yourself! Have someone else get your prescription for you! You have no right to go into a store with a communicable disease and spread your germs among us vulnerable elderly, some of us with compromised immune systems. Your germs could cause our death! Since that trek out two weeks ago, I’ve not gone out again, choosing to have my prescriptions delivered. I’ve always kept food for a month in the winter so that’s no problem (need to be prepared for those blizzards, you know.). I won’t be going out again until late next week — for another doctor’s appointment. This time I’m coming right home and not taking any chances that a sickie is at the grocer’s, Big Box store, or the pharmacy. The weather is getting nicer and don’t want to take the chance that I’ll be spending the earliest warm days of Spring in the hospital because some sickie just HAD to go to a store and contaminate those around him/her.

    When you’re sick, stay home! You’ll get better faster and you’ll be keeping your sick germs to yourself. I do NOT want them, thank you very much.

  • 11 Year Old Girl

    It makes me so mad when people cough and don’t cover their mouths. Also, hand-washing, really people just need to simply be considerate of the fact of : I don’t want your germs. It’s sickening literally. Then there are people who don’t wash their hands. Really, 20 seconds of warm water and soap is so scary. NOT!!

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