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Mild Weather's Impact On Illnesses

February 16, 2012, 6:07 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Mild Weather's Impact On Illnesses
SIOUX FALLS, SD -  
Your mother likely told you not to spend too much time out in the cold because you'll catch a cold. But does the weather really play a role in what viruses are going around?

With temperatures reaching the upper 40's this week, more people are spending time outside.

"The kids in day care go outside more and get fresh air, and they're not confined for as long of periods during the day," Sanford Dr. Stephanie Broderson said.

But Broderson says while people aren't in close contact as much, there are still plenty of viruses going around. Bobbi Foht knows that all too well. Her son, Caleb, has been suffering from a runny nose and cough, and her 10-month-old daughter was hospitalized.

"We went to the ER one night and found out she got admitted for RSV," Foht said.

"RSV has hit hard, just like it often does. The Castle has been full of kids with RSV," Broderson said.

While there may be more people visiting the doctor's office with RSV, the cold weather might actually help prevent flu cases.

"The cases have been a lot more sporadic. Usually when it hits, it hits pretty hard. But it's still been hit or miss with that," Broderson said.

In fact, the nation is experiencing the slowest start to the flu season in three decades. But with the mild weather, it doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the flu season will be mild. The number of flu cases is starting to pick up.

"The cold really doesn't impact it that much because really the illnesses are caused by viruses and bacteria, so you have to be exposed to those," Broderson says.

And Foht knows even warm weather, doesn't necessarily prevent that.

"Everybody I talk to, they're telling me how their kid has RSV or are in and out of the hospital," Foht said.

Broderson also has seen many people suffering from a cold that persists for several weeks. Some of those people are developing pneumonia or a sinus infection.

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