Doctors say changing temps don't cause illness - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Doctors say changing temps don't cause illness

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NEW ORLEANS - The chilly temperatures won't last too long, as the New Orleans area is expected to get up to the 70s this weekend. Now, area doctors are dispelling a common myth about illness and changes in the weather.

It's a theory that's been around for years - that fluctuating temperatures makes people sick. But Dr. Brobson Lutz says the theory isn't true.

"I don't think it's so much the fluctuations as it is there's certain illnesses that are more common in cold weather and certain illnesses are more common in warm weather," Lutz said.

Urgent care centers are seeing a huge influx in people this week. While the temperature drop may be the first culprit that comes to mind, Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich says we have to remember, that this cold snap happened just after the holidays.

"What happens is, during the holidays, people are going to congregate more often, so people are going to be at the mall, they're going to be at family functions - that's how viruses spread," Cvitanovich explained.

Cvitanovich says one way to stay healthy is to stay active if you can brave the chilly temperature.

Hardy Davis says after watching his wife get the flu, he felt even more incentive to head to Audubon Park for his daily walk.

Davis' wife isn't the only one with the flu. Doctors say many more people have been getting the influenza virus, and it's happening much earlier in the season.

"We're in the midst of influenza, almost epidemic proportions here," Lutz said.

"Usually the Gulf South gets the flu after the Northeast, after the West," he said. "This year, two weeks ago, there were three states with high flu epidemics and it was Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. Now there's 20 states, so this year as opposed to previous years, the flu is starting in the Gulf South and spreading in other directions."

If you're feeling sick, it's important to drink lots of liquids and remember, it's not the changing temperatures making you ill, you most likely caught something from someone else.

Lutz says there are some things that are affected by the fluctuation in temperatures, including asthma. Lutz says when the barometric pressure rises and falls, people with asthma can have some difficulty. But common colds and the flu can't be connected with changing temps.

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