'Tis the season for respiratory illnesses

Yona Gavino

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

'Tis the season for respiratory illnesses

CREATED Nov. 19, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov. 19, 2013

MILWAUKEE - There are a lot of respiratory illnesses going around. It starts with a cough or a cold, but it could turn into something as serious as bronchitis or pneumonia.


Delores Hartwig has had a pretty healthy year. She takes vitamins, gets plenty of rest, and just got her flu shot a month ago.

"I’m a person that doesn't want to be sick,” explains Hartwig. “And I live alone and that's another problem. You should not be sick if you're living alone."

But others haven't been as lucky. Dr. Mukesh Kumar has seen an increase in people needing urgent care.

"With all these dramatic changes in the weather, they're more prone to more infections," says Kumar.

These patients have colds, sore throats, ear infections, bronchitis, and flu-like symptoms. Dr. Kumar is also seeing more cases of pneumonia. 

"If you don't have a tissue, or you don't have anything to cover your face, you can just use the crook of your elbow," says Dr. Kumar.

Most people should feel better in 3-5 days. But if your fever goes up or you have colored mucous, ear or sinus pain, see your doctor. In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids. It doesn't necessarily have to be orange juice.

"It doesn't matter if it's water. It can be anything like tea, coffee, soup, Gatorade, Powerade - anything that works for them. Vitamin C is a good source," adds Dr. Kumar.