AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin doctors are seeing fewer COVID-19 cases, but they’re still testing thousands of sick people who think they have the virus. Turns out there are other viruses going around.
KXAN checked in with four local doctors to see what’s making kids and adults sick.
“More adults are coming in with upper respiratory complaints, including rhinitis (colds and allergies),” Dr. Jeffrey Champ with Austin Regional Clinic said. “We are also seeing more anxiety-related complaints as well as patients with COVID-19-related symptoms (fever, cough, muscle ache, headache, fatigue), which are not necessarily indicative of the disease.”
Champ also said Austin Regional Clinic is testing 1,500 to 1,800 people a week for COVID-19 with a 2% positivity rate.
“We’re seeing more viral respiratory ailments, colds and some gastrointestinal (stomach) complaints with diarrhea and nausea,” pediatrician Dr. Natasha Ahmed said. “We’re also seeing the beginning of hand, foot and mouth, a virus common in young children, which presents with skin rash, fever, sore throat and mouth sores. While it is not a serious virus, it is very contagious.”
“Children returning to environments with other children, such as daycare, school, play dates, can spread the illness quickly,” said Ahmed.
“We are seeing kind of a little of everything all at the same time,” said Dr. Lisa Gaw, a pediatrician at Texas Children’s Urgent Care.
Gaw said they are seeing kids with stomach bugs, bronchitis and “all the rashes are coming back like hand foot and mouth disease.”
She said many of the precautions we’ve taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also stopped the spread of other viruses.
“They were really effective at stopping these more common illnesses, a lot are spread by respiratory droplets, like when you cough and sneeze but also direct contact,” said Gaw.
“The recent and ongoing rains, followed by humidity, heat and wind, caused allergies to flare up, especially for those allergic to grasses and molds,” said allergist Dr. Elisabeth Clayton. “As it gets drier and hotter, typical for June and July, these symptoms should abate.”
“If it’s not a virus going around, it’s pollen.”