Local doctor stresses the importance of flu season and other illnesses

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 9:28 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The cooler temperatures usually bring on common colds and other illnesses like the flu and even RSV, we even have to be mindful of COVID-19.

As flu season approaches, it’s important to know what your symptoms mean and when you should seek treatment.

The exact timing and duration of flu season varies, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity usually starts off with average numbers in October and then peaks between December and February.

Piedmont Family Practice Dr. Daryl Ellis told News Leader 9 he’s seeing a lot of patients coming in with cold-like symptoms and respiratory illnesses like influenza and RSV.

He said with RSV you’ll typically see a low-grade fever, coughing and wheezing. He said with the flu it’s typically a high-grade fever, runny nose, and in some cases shortness of breath and even nausea and vomiting.

COVID-19 has all the above symptoms with the exception of low-grade fever. Dr. Ellis stresses while COVID-19 is still prevalent don’t forget how serious the flu is.

“Influenza can be a very serious illness,“ said Family Practice Doctor at Piedmont Physicians at Riverchase Dr. Daryl Ellis. ”Unlike COVID or RSV, it checks off all the boxes of potential symptoms and the high fever can be quite dangerous. You’re also at an increased risk of dehydration with the flu.”

Dr. Ellis said it’s important to remember to use social distancing, practice frequent handwashing and stay home if you or a loved one feels sick, but stresses if you’re in respiratory distress, seek medical attention immediately.

To help with keeping others safe, Piedmont does offer virtual visits with primary care providers and at urgent care locations that’ll allow a proper assessment in the comfort of your home.

Most visits are conducted over video, and all you need to get started is a video-enabled computer, tablet or smartphone. Piedmont’s virtual visits are also HIPAA-compliant, so you can be confident that your information is safe.

Additionally, Piedmont offers On-Demand Virtual Visits that allow patients to be seen same-day through the Piedmont MyChart patient portal. That way, if a patient starts experiencing symptoms and wants to know what they’re dealing with right away, they can see a provider virtually with no appointment needed. For more information go here.