The flu isn’t the only virus going around making people feel horrible. Baptist Health Systems Emergency Room Physician Melissa Duncan said the adenovirus is one of many illnesses going around.
“The adenovirus tends to be one people talk about a little bit more,” said Duncan. “It tends to affect most frequently kids; especially kids in daycare can get it pretty bad. In adults, It manifests itself as a really bad cold but typically doesn’t have those same kinds of high-fevers and myalgias and body aches that you get with the flu.”
Duncan said the virus spreads much like others, through droplets.
“Anytime you talk or cough, your body sprays out millions of little tiny particles of saliva and things that spread that virus that you have,” Duncan said. “So, generally it comes from coughing on people, or drinking after someone that’s been sick, coughing in your hands and shaking the hands of someone without washing your hands first.”
Duncan said children may experience coughing, congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and even eye infections.
However, Duncan said there is not a specific medicine available to treat adenovirus.
“For most cough and cold viruses like the adenovirus, the biggest thing is what the medical community calls supportive care,” Duncan said. “Which is making sure you drink lots of fluids and keeping yourself hydrated, and by fluids, I typically mean clear fluids like water, Gatorade, Powerade and not coffee and sodas and things with caffeine because they tend to dehydrate you more than they actually add more fluid to your body."
Unlike swab tests and other measures taken to test a patient for the flu, strep throat, and other illnesses, Duncan said there’s not an easy way to test for adenovirus.
She suggests taking over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants for the duration of symptoms which she said usually lasts up to a week.
If your symptoms last longer than that, Duncan said there’s a chance you could also be battling a secondary infection, including pneumonia or a sinus infection.
Duncan said the best way to prevent the spread of adenovirus and other flu-like illnesses is to wash your hands, make sure you wash anything you’ve touched after your a cough. If you have to cough, try to cough into your elbow or into a napkin to try and contain those particles and keep them from spreading.
Duncan said the staff at Baptist Health Systems sees about 20 patients a day dealing with the flu and patients dealing with other flu-like illnesses.
“I’ve seen plenty of people who have all the symptoms that sound like the flu and they test negative for the flu this year,” said Duncan. “There’s a few nasty viruses besides the flu roaming around out there, like the adenovirus that can also cause a lot of those same symptoms.”
As far as flu cases, physicians at University of Mississippi Medical Center said it appears new cases are slowing down.
“It seems like we peaked about two weeks ago with the number of positive cases falling slowly but steadily since Jan. 16,” said Dr. Benjamin Dillard, professor of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “There is still a significant amount of influenza present in the community, but it does seem to be improving.”
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