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Doctors warn: non-COVID-19 sicknesses worse this fall than normal



Salt Lake City, Utah — Friday at Intermountain Alta View Clinic. Dr. Carla Suarez, a pediatrician at the clinic, got a moment to slow down and go home.

The exam rooms in the pediatric office finally emptied out just after 5 p.m.

The schedule lately has been jam-packed, “We have been very busy seeing illness in our clinic,” Dr. Suarez explained.

She said usually, they don’t see this many cases and this early in the season.

There might be a reason things are bad this year.

“I think as we are seeing less masking, less social distancing, more gathering, we’re seeing more spread of this illness. We are seeing a rise in these viruses,” she said.

She listed sicknesses like adenovirus, rhinovirus, RSV, human metapneumovirus, and — coming soon — influenza.

“This is where it gets kind of tricky,” Dr. Suarez explained. “Some of these symptoms definitely overlap with COVID-19 symptoms, so a lot of that can be difficult to decipher. So, we see things like fever, you can see kind of red puffy eyes, as well as other symptoms such as nasal congestion, and cough.”

Dr. Suarez best advice is: get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu.

According to Dr. Suarez, now is the time to get the flu vaccine, because influenza could be bad this year and the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to take effect. She also urged people to wash their hands frequently and keep those masks around. If you do feel sick, she relayed that it’s best to stay away from others, she added.

“It’ll be really important to stay home this winter to help decrease the spread of illnesses,” Dr. Suarez said.