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The ongoing winter like temperatures this year could be to blame for more viral infections.
The Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department says they are seeing increasing visits to the ER for ear, nose, throat, and upper respiratory symptoms as well as stomach virus this year as opposed to last year.
"We've had a colder and a harsher winter than we usually do so people are spending more time inside. They're coming in contact with more people and because of that, they're exposed to more germs. This increases their likelihood of becoming infected with an upper respiratory infection like a cold or with a stomach virus like the Norovirus," said Regional Epidemiologist Kristen Baker. "With a lot of these colds and a lot of the stomach viruses like Norovirus you get them once and you can get them again because it doesn't necessarily mean that you're immune to every strand that's out there."
Many people are taking to twitter instead of taking the time to rest. Increasing numbers of people are going to work and even posting on social media about their illnesses instead of staying home and treating their symptoms. Because of this, symptoms can last longer and other illnesses can result.
"What we're seeing is people are coming down with illnesses and they're not taking the time to get better and then they end up having it for longer. So you need to take time initially because it's what you're body needs most, is rest," said Baker. " We alsorecommend exercising and eating right in order to prevent getting any kind of illness. There's about 200 different types of viruses that can cause upper respiratory symptoms. It can cause anything from cold to bronchitis to sinusitis to ear infections. It just depends on how it enters your body and where it effects you."
A bronchitis cough can last up to eight weeks while a stomach virus can last from two to three and in some cases up to ten days. Because there is no vaccine or treatment for viruses, doctors recommend you treat your symptoms with over the counter medicines, stay hydrated with fluids like pedialite to replenish electrolites, and as always regularly wash your hands.