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Respiratory & strep infections rise

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More people in the area are becoming sick with respiratory and strep infections.

Every day for the past couple of weeks around 25 people have been going to Family Medicine Center in Amarillo for care. And nurse practitioners say this is out of the ordinary. They say the flu has died down, but mid-March is when they began seeing the rise.

Texas Tech Physicians of Amarillo says everyday they're seeing around 30 people test positive for strep throat from children to young adults. Dr. Muhammad Uddin with Texas Tech Physicians of Amarillo says, "We have been seeing some cold viruses, and cold kind is of going down now. But we are more seeing throat infections, especially strep pharyngitis."

Strep symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, runny nose, cough, headache, and sometimes rash. Doctor Uddin says strep throat can lead to skin infections and pneumonia.

Family Medicine Center says the extreme weather has been a factor this year. Nurse Practitioner Derrell DeLoach with Family Medicine Center says, "Whenever there are changes in the weather pattern, you have different environmental allergens. And sometimes patients respond negatively to those. And their immune system becomes weakened because of allergies. And it makes them susceptible to opportunistic infections that can be viral or bacterial."

DeLoach says worsened allergies and a significant flu season this year, has affected people's immune systems. He says, "We have had a very active year, and I attribute a lot of that to an active influenza season. I think that it did affect the immunity in this area of a whole host of patients. And so I think that it has made us have more upper respiratory infections this season than normal."

And weakened immunity has led to more people becoming sick. DeLoach says, "When there's a lot of influenza in the community, it causes opportunistic infections to move in as well. And the immune system of the community is diminished. So they're susceptible to more infection."

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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