Fall's just beginning, but local doctors' offices already seeing more sick patients

Fall?€™s just beginning, but local doctors?€™ offices already seeing more sick patients

PITTSBURGH — With school back in full swing, doctors’ offices are starting to see more patients coming in with respiratory illnesses.

Dr. Marc Itzkowitz, of Allegheny Health Network, said it’s getting into the busy season and has already been treating more patients in the last two to four weeks.

“It’s a common time of the year to see more respiratory illnesses, in particular,” Itzkowitz said.

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According to Itzkowitz, it coincides with kids going back to school, as well as people spending more time inside.

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“A lot of cough, sore throat, febrile illnesses. Some patients are developing asthma-type symptoms,” Itzkowitz said.

However, it might be hard for patients to tell whether they’re suffering from a fever or fall allergies, which are kicking in, too.

“Certainly, a cold should only last five to seven days. If the symptoms are lasting longer, sort of low-grade symptoms that aren’t peaking but are just present and not going away, then we’re suspicious that it’s an allergy,” Itzkowitz said.

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When it comes to deciding whether to go see a doctor, Itzkowitz had this to say: “If patients are having persistent symptoms -- or having more severe symptoms like a really high fever, symptoms of dehydration, a cough that’s not resolving -- they should see their doctor.”

Itzkowitz suggests washing hands frequently, getting enough sleep and practicing proper nutrition as ways to reduce chances of getting sick.