People are getting sick, but it’s not the flu

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – It’s that time of year again, not only presents and Santa but for catching a cold.  If over the past few weeks you feel like you’ve been sick for a long time, you’re not the only one.

If you’ve had a lingering cough that’s lasted for more than two weeks and think it’s the flu, you’re wrong.

Kristen Bush says she’s tried everything to get rid of her cold but nothing seems to work.

“It started with a sore throat, I went to the doctor and got a strep test, a flu test, all kinds of tests and they didn’t know what it was,” said Bush. “Then I got a cough and I lost my voice and I have no clue what it is.”

A good amount of people have caught this sickness over the past month.  Doctors say it’s not the flu, which typically starts around the New Year.  So if you’re coughing and can’t shake it, you might be dealing with an upper respiratory viral infection. Dr. Kimbre Zahn from IU Health says it could because of the change of season.

“We know this is a big time of year where people do get the viral respiratory infection because everybody is coming indoors,” said Dr. Zahn.  “People are in an enclosed space more and people are sharing those infections this time of year.”

Symptoms include mild flu like symptoms, nasal congestion and that lingering cough.  Dr. Zahn says forget the antibiotics for a viral infection like this.

“Viral respiratory infection or any viral infection unfortunately isn’t going to be responsive to antibiotics,” said Dr. Zahn. “It really is to treat bacterial infections, so we tend to think until you had these respiratory symptoms for 10-14 days it’s most likely viral so we need to treat it supportively.”

Viral Respiratory Infections can linger for weeks and you have to battle through it. As for the flu, you still have time to get a shot.

Doctor Zahn said last year the flu lasted all the way into April. It’s not too late for a little preventative care.

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