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There’s a nasty bug going around and it ain’t the flu. Find out what the symptoms are

Getting sick: Fact vs. Fiction

You may have heard that going outside in the winter without a hat on will result in catching a cold, but is that really true? A doctor separates fact from fiction when it comes to what actually causes us to get sick.
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You may have heard that going outside in the winter without a hat on will result in catching a cold, but is that really true? A doctor separates fact from fiction when it comes to what actually causes us to get sick.

If you’re feeling miserable, it could be the flu.

Then again, it could be this nasty, upper respiratory illness that’s been circulating for the last month or so.

Dr. Ashley Fagan of Texas Health Family Care in Grapevine knows firsthand — she’s already been sick.

“It started with a sore throat and within 48 hours, it was a pretty significant bronchitis,” Fagan said. “It was so bad I had to miss three days of work because I couldn’t talk.”

Currently, more of the children coming into the Grapevine clinic have the flu but most of the adults have the upper respiratory bug, Fagan said.

Unlike the flu, this upper respiratory illness doesn’t bring on a high fever or muscle aches but it does make you feel pretty awful.

The sore throat can make a person feel like they’re swallowing glass and it can bring on a very bad cough and plenty of chest tightness.

In Fagan’s case, she was prescribed antibiotics.

But many physicians say antibiotics shouldn’t be prescribed since most upper respiratory illnesses are viral.

The overuse of antibiotics has been a major concern within the medical community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said they shouldn’t be used for treating viruses.

Dr. Harpreet Suri, a pulmonologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, said most of what is circulating is viral but each case is unique.

“You can’t just generalize but it is more likely to to be viral than bacterial,” Suri said.

If patients become sick enough to be hospitalized, Suri said physicians must look at underlying conditions and check for bacterial infections.

This Fort Worth elementary school nurse emphasizes the importance of keeping those little hands clean during the 2017-18 school year and flu season. And, of course, "if you're sick, stay home."

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Bill Hanna is an award-winning reporter who has covered just about every beat at the Star-Telegram. He currently covers Arlington but also writes about a variety of subjects including weather, wildlife, traffic and health.
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