COLORADO SPRINGS — Following up on our last Your Healthy Family story, in which we reported that doctors across the nation are seeing an early spike in colds and respiratory viruses. I spoke with a local doctor to see if he is seeing that trend here in southern Colorado.
Dr. Ian Tullberg, the Urgent Care Medical Director for UCHealth, said, “Our numbers in the clinic are spiking pretty good with these viral syndromes and viral upper respiratory tract infections. These colds and infections are lasting for a few days or even a couple weeks and are exploding in the middle of summer. We don't typically see that.”
Dr. Tullberg also says many of the people he is seeing who are fighting a virus also have similar responses to being sick. “Ask yourself: In the last year - aside from COVID - how often have you really gotten sick? Most people coming in are telling me, ‘I really haven't had a cold or even been sick in the last year, year and a half.’ That’s because we have all been wearing masks and everything else, so people really were not passing things around, and now all of a sudden we are all back out there.”
However, Dr. Tullberg says it would be too simple to say that everyone's immune system has been weakened by not being around other people since COVID restrictions went into place. But part of what keeps our immune system strong is being exposed to disease-causing germs, bacteria and viruses. “It's more of an individual thing. I can't give a blanket statement that our immune systems will be a little less than what they usually are. But, how the immune system works is when we are exposed to certain bugs, we develop antibodies to those. If we get in touch with that same bug again, our immune system helps fight that. It’s still an individual type of thing - some people will experience more sickness and more issues with their immune system and others might not have a problem with it.”
In our next story, Dr. Tullberg will talk about what we should do now that COVID is a new reality and what to do when we get cold-like symptoms.
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