Flu not the only virus hitting Kansas City area, doctors say

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Think you have the flu? You might need to rethink your self-diagnosis.

While the influenza virus hit earlier and stronger than it has in previous years, doctors at Children's Mercy Hospital said other viruses are affecting large parts of the Kansas City area.

"Up north, we're starting to see some parainlfuenza, the croupy stuff which we don't necessarily see as much in the south just based on our specimens," Dr. Christopher Harrison said. "And the norovirus is kind of hit and miss all around."

Harrison, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Mercy, said parainfluenza is "sort of like the flu," but most of the time, doesn't cause any influenza-like illness.

It affects the voice box and patients usually get horse.

The symptoms of norovirus are vomiting and diarrhea.

Doctors say different viruses have hit different parts of the Kansas City area.

"Some of the viruses hit the whole area at once, at least what it seems like, and influenza is one of those," Harrison said. "Norovirus has pockets that show up. There will be one infected person and then a lot of people around that person will get infected. Things like croup tend to go from one side of town and then move to the other."

Harrison said the hospital saw the number respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases increase dramatically in 2012.

RSV is a severe respiratory disease that affects infants.
Harrison said you should see your doctor if you think you have the flu RSV, or any other illness.

Harrison says unfortunately, with the norovirus or parainfluenza, patients have to wait it out.

Doctors say to prevent illness make sure to to get plenty of sleep, have a balanced diet and wash your hands often.

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