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What's Going Around: Flu and Respiratory Infections

Health officials across the country say this could be the worst flu season in a decade.

January 10, 2013|Reporter: Lauren Matter, Photographer: Tony Nguyen |,

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - We've been hearing about it for weeks, but health officials say the number of flu cases across the country are going up every day.

This is the sixth week in a row we've seen an increase in the number of cases in Greene County.

Doctors reported more than 140 new cases.

Health officials across the country say this could be the worst flu season in a decade.

But it's not just the flu that's bringing folks into emergency rooms across the Ozarks.

"They call it cold and flu season for a reason because it really comes around this time of year," says Dr. Christopher Spinelli, a pediatrician with the Ozarks Community Hospital's Springfield clinic.

Dr. Spinelli says he's seen a lot of kids coughing and sneezing lately because of a common respiratory virus.

"It's RSV season so they can give kids head colds, even adults bad cold symptoms. The little guys and girls can get bronchiolitis, sometimes they'll be wheezy and have a hard time with retractions and breathing faster," Spinelli explains.


The germs that cause this respiratory virus can live on surfaces for an hour and a half.

That's why doctors say it's always important to wash your hands and more importantly your kid’s hands.

"In between touching surfaces, they're touching each other and putting their hands on their face, they're basically inoculating themselves with that stuff," Dr. Spinelli says.

Here's a look at the top 3 ways to catch the flu:

1. Being near someone who is sick when they sneeze, cough or talk.

2. Drinking from the same cup or sharing a utensil with them.

3. Touching a germy surface and then touching your eyes or mouth.

Doctors say you can pass the virus on to someone else even before you know you're sick.

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