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Cold and flu numbers increasing after restrictions lift

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: July 9, 2021
Woman sneezing

With restrictions lifting and Houstonians venturing out more, cases of the cold and flu viruses have risen.

Summer has arrived and along with it the common cold and flu viruses. With masking, quarantining, and proper hand hygiene a focal point this time last year, doctors across the country noticed a historic decline in positive cases of viral infections.

Although cold and flu viruses are uncommon during the warmer months, experts are witnessing a spike in cases across the Greater Houston area.

Luis Z. Ostrosky, MD
Luis Z. Ostrosky, MD

“We’re not used to getting sick because of masking and previous safety protocols. We’re going out a lot more now and exposing ourselves to much more” explained Luis Ostrosky, MD, infectious disease specialist with UT Physicians and professor of internal medicine and vice chair for Healthcare Quality at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Because of COVID-19, we’re hyper-aware of respiratory illness.”

However, Ostrosky emphasizes that if you feel ill don’t assume it’s just a cold and expose others. This caution is especially needed for unvaccinated adolescents and young adults. These age groups are currently leading the positive cases for COVID-19.

If you are unvaccinated and experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, experts suggest being tested to rule out COVID-19. Even if testing dismisses coronavirus, you can still practice precautions until you feel well for the sake of yourself and others.

“Maintain proper hand hygiene and stay home when you can,” said Ostrosky. “If you need to go out or be in a crowded setting, you still have the option to wear a mask.”

For UT Physicians COVID-19 testing sites, go here. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and to schedule a vaccination appointment, go here.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.