Colds may be down, but other health problems have surfaced

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS

Colds and flu can hit any time of the year. But have the record-breaking warmer temperatures of this winter season had an impact on the number of these illnesses this season compared to more normal-temperature winters?


“Colds and flu were down until now,” said Randolph Whitely, a physician with with PMA-Hillsboro Family Practice Clinic in Hillsboro.


But recently, with temperatures down, he said he’s seeing colds and flu on the rise.


The common cold is an infection of the head and chest and is caused by viruses, which are germs. The infection can be spread when viruses are passed on to others by sneezing, coughing and personal contact and will typically last seven to 14 days.


Stomach flu is also a viral infection affecting the stomach and small intestine. The virus can be spread by direct contact with an infected person and usually lasts one to three days.


Two other health professionals reported other health concerns during the milder weather through the middle of January


Jan Moffitt, director of the Marion County Health Department, said she has noticed more head congestion this year.


“I’ve noticed two or three people with head congestion and ear problems, even among adults,” Moffitt said. “I don’t know if it’s allergies or what’s causing that.”


Diedre Serene, Unified School District 410 nurse, said she hasn’t noticed a difference in colds among school children, but she has observed that allergies and asthma-related problems are up a little bit compared to last year at this time.


“I would say the kids who generally take some allergy medicines in the spring or fall are still continuing those through the winter,” Serene said. “I wonder if the allergies are because we haven’t had very many frosts.

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