BATON ROUGE - We've been hearing about how bad this flu season is, but now, there's another sickness causing patients to flock to hospitals: sinus infections.
"There's been a huge up-tick in the number of new patients that we're seeing," said Dr. Christian Hall with the Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana.
For the past four months, Dr. Hall and his partner, Dr. Henry Barham, are having to fit in 10 to 20 percent more patients to their already booked up schedules daily.
"Because the flu season has been so long, people will question is this flu related or sinusitis, and trying to differentiate between the two is what we've dealt with," said Dr. Barham.
Many of the patients come in with the complaint that they can't breathe through their nose. Dr. Hall says the changing weather is the main reason why people are getting clogged up. Many are out enjoying the outdoors today, but that hasn't always been the case this winter.
"The rapid changes of temperatures drives people indoors, people turn their heater on and you get a dry environment," said Dr. Hall. "There's a lot of spread of viruses, which can lay the groundwork for bacteria infections for the nose and sinuses."
Hall says some of the infections don't last long.
"If their symptoms have been present for less than a week, it's probably a viral issue, anything longer than that requires antibiotics," said Dr. Hall.
The doctors don't expect the upper respiratory sinus season to end until April when the warmer temperatures begin to stick around.