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Doctors seeing influx of patients with upper respiratory viruses, like bronchitis, in Capital area

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Doctors in the Capital area say they’re seeing an unusual trend for this time of year.

They have been diagnosing a lot of folks with upper respiratory viruses, or RSV, pneumonia, and even bronchitis.

“Still kind of have a little bit of a cough,” said Stephen Sommers, a Baton Rouge resident.

About two weeks ago, Sommers started to not feel so good.

“I was really getting tired, run-down, and then started developing a little bit of a cough. And just knew something wasn’t right,” explained Sommers.

So, he went to an urgent care and was tested for COVID-19 and strep throat.

“And they both came back negative. And then, they tested me for bronchitis and that came back positive,” added Sommers.

“That’s what’s kind of got people perplexed is normally, we see these in the early winter months and through the winter,” said Dr. Johnny Jones, medical director of emergency services at Baton Rouge General Medical Center. “And this is just kind of the opposite if you will.”

Jones added they’re seeing a lot of younger folks come in with those upper respiratory viruses.

“The symptoms vary from just the flu-type symptoms, general body aches, cough, cold, runny nose to some people with some significant bronchitis‚ where they’ve got some shortness of breath and some pneumonia. I just admitted one earlier before I got on the phone with you,” noted Jones.

Now that most people are pretty much back to normal, a lot of the things that may have prevented them from catching COVID-19 also helped them stay away from other illnesses.

“Clinically, it’s difficult to tell the difference. And thank God we have the COVID testing as fairly common right now, so we can rule that out, which is kind of what we’ve been doing,” pointed out Jones.

He’s got some suggestions for folks as these viruses spread.

“It’s funny. It’s the same stuff we went through with COVID. It’s all hand hygiene and six feet away and wearing the mask and all of those things that we were doing to try and prevent spread of COVID, because these viruses are respiratory spread,” explained Jones.

“Got some good sleep and came back and got back to work and hit the gym,” said Sommers.

The CDC has also recently issued a health advisory to let doctors know about increased cases of RSV in children, across parts of the South.

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