Staying healthy during holiday and sick season

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Doctors say the number of patients visiting clinics this winter is increasing, but what's sending them to the doctor?

Dr. Walt Short said they have been very busy the last couple of weeks at the St. Bernards First Care Clinic, and he's seen a little bit of everything.

"One that has nausea and vomiting and diarrhea, maybe a little fever," Dr. Short said. "The other broad patient category that we've seen has been more related to upper respiratory symptoms."

Dr. Short said he has also seen several cases of strep throat, and of course you can't leave out the reason for the season-the flu.

Dr. Steven Stroud is an infectious disease specialist at NEA Baptist Hospital. He said he knows of nine confirmed flu cases this month.

"But it worries me it will be a severe season since we are starting to see so many this early," Dr. Stroud said.

The winter months may be to thank for the increase in illness. Dr. Short said when the weather is colder it brings people inside, allowing more opportunity for sickness to spread.

Dr. Stroud said if you think you have flu-like symptoms, stay home.

"You have all the symptoms, don't go to work, don't go to school," Dr. Stroud said. "Take the day off. Your co-workers and teachers will appreciate it in the long run."

Dr. Stroud and Dr. Short suggest, to stay healthy and hopefully avoid the doctor's office, washing your hands regularly along with coughing and sneezing into your elbow.

"The flu vaccine is probably the single most important thing you can do," Dr. Stroud said.

Both doctors believe they will see the number of patients coming to clinics increase as the winter months continue.

"I think it's going to be busy," Dr. Short said. "I think as things go around and the weather changes."

"Certainly expect to see a lot more visits," Dr. Stroud said. "A lot more flu swabs."

Dr. Stroud said it isn't too late to get a flu shot. He said the height of flu season normally comes around January and February.

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