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.”


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