What illness do you have: sinus infection vs. the flu

What illness do you have: sinus infection vs. the flu
Published: Oct. 27, 2015 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2015 at 8:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - What may feel like the flu could actually be an infection spreading, and local doctors believe it has a lot to do with living in Memphis.

The director of Baptist Medical Group, Dr. Mark Castellaw, said more than one-fourth of his recent patients have complained of flu-like symptoms.

"We have a mini epidemic going on right now," Castellaw said.

The symptoms mirror the flu but Castellaw said it may actually be an outbreak of sinus infections.

"Living in Memphis is part of the problem," he said. "Here in the Mid-South you get this sinusitis and bronchitis."

Castellaw said the most notable difference between an infection and the flu is body temperature. Temperatures run high with the flu.

"With this current bronchitis and sinusitis, it's usually a low grade fever," he explained.

To know for sure if it is in fact the flu or an infection, Castellaw suggests getting tested.

"If you're not better in about 48 hours you probably should go get checked."

Unlike the flu, no effective immunization exists for sinus infections, but Castellaw said most people can handle them with over-the-counter medicines and fluids.

"Stay at home from work or school so you can get well."

Many people are taking their doctor's advice and staying home suffering from another highly contagious illness: a stomach bug.

"There's something that's just now raising its ugly head and that's gastritis,"Castellaw said. "In fact we had several staff members out yesterday with this stomach virus."

He encourages his patients to stay hydrated, keep their hands washed, and disinfect their home and work spaces often.

Harold Young made an appointment to get the help he needs to fight a sinus infection, and he had this advice to share:

"It's best to just come in a see the doctor if you're feeling pretty bad."

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