New, unnamed flu-like virus making rounds in Houston

December 3, 2010 4:43:46 PM PST
Flu season is here and there are signs it's already showing up. Doctors say there is a new unnamed virus that can really linger for several days.

"Stuffy nose, sore throat, dry cough, especially when I'm trying to sleep at night is the worst thing," college student Shane Rojas said.

Rojas has what many on campus have.

"I have severe congestion in my throat, I just feel like all in a cloud and it's a really bad time to be sick during finals time," college student Lauren Poe said.

It's not just college students.

My daughter, who is 12, and I both had what's being called an 11-day virus. High fever -- 104, and she had 105 -- and it really does last for 11 days.

"It's more than the regular common cold virus. We're seeing it last a little longer; it's lasting about two weeks," said Dr. Deepa Vasudevan with UT Health. "Everybody, whether adults or children, they have a lot more fatigue with it; it's putting them out of work or school for about a good week."

And because it's viral, antibiotics don't work. Dr. Vasudevan says the symptoms are: feeling tired, sore throat, and a lingering cough that's hangs around for about two weeks. The cough is the last thing to resolve.

Pediatricians are seeing similar illnesses.

"A lot of febrile illnesses, may times with cold symptoms, allergies, a lot of GI symptoms as well, vomiting," said Dr. Ann Lee, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann.

What about the flu? Not so much among adults, but for kids.

"We've seen the seasonal flu. We've already tested positive for that; that happened a couple of weeks ago," Dr. Lee said.

The doctor's advice: Wash, wash, wash your hands, and as Rojas learned, it's OK to skip class when you're sick.

"OK get away, get away, you can leave, you can leave," Rojas said about the reaction he's gotten from others on campus.

Viruses can live on a door knob for up to two days, so don't forget to disinfect them and faucets when someone is sick in your house.


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