The season of sickness

DENVER - For some, it seems that everyone they work with is sick.

“They cough, their throat is scratchy and it’s been hanging on for about a month for each one of them,” said one patient in Dr. Rafer Leach’s Denver office.

Dr. Leach says it’s been a tough season so far.   He’s had noticeably more requests for work release due to illness.  “ I think it`s a more severe season this year just in general,” he said.

He’s seeing a lot of coughs that are lasting for weeks.  It’s usually just a virus, but…  “Anytime you are short of breath, with a cough, with a fever, that`s concerning for pneumonia, and that should be evaluated,” said Dr. Leach.

Of course, we are right in the middle of flu season as well.  “It`s a bigger flu season than I’ve seen in probably the last 4 or 5.  It's a somewhat more severe illness,” said Dr. Leach.

As of December 30th, 1203 people have been hospitalized in Colorado with the flu this season.  That is several times the average number.

On top of all that, Dr. Leach is seeing a lot of stomach bugs.  “There has been a higher amount of intestinal flus if you will, that’s sort of a lay term for nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps , maybe some fevers.”

It is winter, and we are all stuck inside sharing germs, but why does this year seem so bad?  “I have no good answer for why it’s been a worse season,” Dr. Leach said with a shake of the head.

He says to stop the spread of sickness, it’s important to wash your hands and stay home if you are sick.