Bronchitis and sinusitis infections on the rise in Florida after nasty flu season

TAMPA — The United States saw one of the worst flu seasons in recent history. As it turns out, the suffering is not over.

A recent report by Centre Care in the Tampa area says sinusitis and bronchitis are on the rise.

In Citrus Park, the infections are up 300%, Carrollwood reports cases are on the rise at about 600% and Wesley Chapel is seeing about an 800% spike.

Numbers were not collected for Polk County, but Lakeland Regional Health’s Medical Director of Infection says doctors have been seeing an increase.

“Bronchitis and sinusitis are often triggered by viral infections,” Dr. Daniel Haight said.

So, why are these brutal illnesses striking in the summer? Dr. Haight says it is all due to our nasty flu season.

Florida alone saw more than 500 outbreaks across the state and is even now seeing an above average flu season in the summertime.

“These viruses that cause the common colds can circulate all year long,” Dr. Haight says.

He says that because of such a rough flu season, our throats are more susceptible to the common cold.

That is because when we are coughing and suffering for a prolonged amount of time, our throats become raw and open for bacteria or other viral infections.

“If you catch it you could be vulnerable for more serious infections called bacteria infections and it can be quite serious with high fever and shortness of breath,” he said.

Another reason you may not be able to kick the cold is because of antibiotic overuse.

Doctors say patients may be too quick to ask for antibiotics and doctors need to slow down on prescribing them; unless the illness is worsening.

Overuse of antibiotics can cause superbugs.

“Just let it run its course, get plenty of rest, don’t go into work if you're feeling sick, or if you have a fever,” Dr. Haight said.

According to Centre Care here are a four things you can do to avoid the outbreak:

  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face 
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Stay well-hydrated and eat a balanced diet 
  • Above all, avoid contact with sick people or stay home if feeling il
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