Local doctors seeing something unusual this year

Local doctors seeing something unusual this year

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Have you been feeling under the weather lately? You're not alone. Local doctors are seeing patients with lingering respiratory viruses.

Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, who is also the Jefferson Parish coroner, has been seeing something different this year.

"It's lingering longer, and more people are getting complications," he said. "Typically we get a virus and people get over a virus in a few days. The virus that we are seeing now starts off with a sore throat and a cough and progresses, and some people progress and get really sick to where they're having lower respiratory symptoms, including wheezing and shortness of breath and things like that."

And, there's something else doctors are seeing that's unusual.

"We are seeing some cases in adults of RSV, which is interesting, something we don't normally even test for," Cvitanovich said. "RSV is Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Normally, you see that in kids, and it can be the cause of hospitalization for a lot of your smaller kids under 6 months old."

Dr. Brobson Lutz has also been treating patients who've been sick with those respiratory viruses. The good news? Doctors are not seeing a lot of flu activity.

"Influenza in Louisiana, it used to always hit us in about January or February," Lutz said. "It started hitting us a little bit earlier, but we're certainly not out of the woods yet, and if someone has not had an Influenza immunization, I encourage them to get it. The vaccine is readily available."

If you're not feeling well and have other medical problems, you're best bet is to get checked out.

"I would say that most people should probably have a shorter trigger on coming in to be evaluated at this time, especially if you've got any potential for having complications, you know, such as if you've got other co-morbidity, such as diabetes or asthma. Anybody with things like that would want to make sure that they get treated sooner rather than later," said Cvitanovich.

Doctors we talked to believe we're seeing a mild flu season so far due to the effectiveness of this year's vaccine.

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