By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may have noticed that the sick list is a little longer at work and school these days.

Doctors have reported an uptick in strep throat and other illnesses.

So can a change in seasons make us sick? Good Question.

From the home front to the work front, the calendar says early June. But local hospitals are seeing more and more bugs, bacteria and viruses.

“Some of us are warm people and some of us are cold weather people, what you sort of like to live in. It’s the same thing with these little microorganisms,” said Dr. David Hilden.

Hilden is with Hennepin County Medical Center.

He said the flu virus thrives in the winter months when the air is dry and people are close together, indoors. Strep bacteria like the spring and early summer.

“The strep bacteria is everywhere. And it’s, I think, far more related to the human behavior — the interactions kids have with each other. Being more active, things like that,” said Hilden.

Hilden said allergies also play a role in spring colds. People who have allergies this time of year can become susceptible to other things.

“Their immune systems aren’t everything they should be and their body’s immune system is overreacting, so then they can get ill,” said Hilden.

And then there’s the ‘comfort’ factor that could be contributing to more doctor visits.

“There is a definite connection with heating and air conditioning, particularly air conditioning systems with certain infections,” said Hilden.

Hilden said when people run their air conditioners for the first time, they are sending out spores and viruses that have been sitting all winter — just waiting for a healthy person to invade.

“You’ll find many people say, ‘I get stuffed up and I get ill when we crank up the air conditioning,’ and I think there’s something to that,” said Hilden.

Hilden said coronaviruses and rhinoviruses that cause common colds are present year-round. So it’s not unusual to get a cold in the summer.

Kids get eight to 10 colds a year. Adults get two to three.

John Lauritsen

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