An increase in Houstonians with respiratory infections after flooding

About a month after the flood waters receded, Harvey is still finding a way to do harm to Houstonians as more people make their way to the emergency room because of respiratory infections.

Typically it's trauma and car wrecks driving up the count in ER's but since Harvey hit, Houstonians sick with coughing and congestion have been dropping by doctor's offices in droves.

All the moldy debris has made for less than ideal air quality across Houston. So it may not be a surprise you that Memorial Hermann Hospital is reporting "higher than normal" rates of respiratory infections including acute bronchitis. "Patients with congestion, drainage, frontal headaches, maybe some ear symptoms. Coughing and the cough may be the last thing to go," explains Dr. Patrick Hayes with Memorial Hermann Medical Group Memorial City.

In fact, some people are complaining of a lingering illness that just doesn't seem to go away.  "When you have an upper respiratory infection 9 out of 10 times it's going to be a virus.  So antibiotics are not going to do anything," explains Dr. Hayes.

What will work to fight back against so many Houstonians getting sick in Harvey's wake?  Well, Dr. Hayes says believe it or not, getting plenty of rest can help fight even the nastiest of illnesses and he has a study to prove it.

"Americans who got less than 7 hours of sleep at night were three times more likely to catch colds," says Dr. Hayes.

The doctor also suggests taking Vitamin C and eating a healthy diet.  Also, if you are still demolishing flooded homes and buildings wear a mask when handling those flood soaked materials.