Germwatch: Cold, Dry Air Causing Sinus Issues, Plus Strep & Flu

Feeling sick? Sinus issues, strep, and flu are going around.
If you’re feeling sinus pressure and runny nose, the dry air may be the culprit.

With extremely cold temperatures alternating with unseasonably warm days, Charlottesville and the surrounding region may experience unusually high volumes of sinus issues and colds.

At the UVA Primary Care Locust Grove clinic, Nathaniel Arnatt, NP, says flu and strep among children is on the rise.

Cold Spells & Drastic Weather

Due to the drastic highs and lows in the weather here in central Virginia of late, Arnatt expects “to see lots of patients with congestion, post nasal drip and sinus pressure.”

“Also, with this cold spell we just got over,” he notes, “many patients have had their heat pumps running throughout the day, which has contributed to very dry heat.”

To ward off and manage these weather-related sinus conditions, Arnatt advises people to use a saline nasal spray and humidifiers, to help moisten the air. “A lot of our patients use a Neti Pot,” he adds, “a device used to flush saline through the maxillary sinuses that will also help moisturize the nasal cavities.”

Strep & Flu

Also on the rise, according to Arnatt:

  • Strep throat infections amongst children
  • Flu

Arnatt notes, “Although influenza season is not in full swing yet, we are seeing cases of influenza A in our practice.”

Strep & Flu Symptoms

Signs you might have strep:

  • High fever and headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes and/or tonsils

Signs you might have flu:

  • High fever
  • Exhaustion — the flu makes you feel really, really tired
  • Other cold symptoms, like cough, sore throat, congestion

Sinus Issues? Find a Local Doctor

Take strep or flu symptoms to a doctor immediately: Find a primary care provider near you.

He reminds us:

  • Contact your provider at the first sign of symptoms within 48 hours (when Tamiflu can help prevent the worst)
  • Even after 48 hours, treatment can provide relief
  • You may be even be eligible for Tamiflu if you’ve just had contact with a flu patient. Talk to your primary care provider.
The Germwatch series provides information on what’s going around in our community as well as popular reasons for primary care visits.

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