Eastern Iowa doctors see surge in pneumonia visits

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Cedar Rapids, Iowa (KCRG) - Doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids are seeing an increase in flu and pneumonia visits. Especially now that the holidays are over. They also anticipate it to get worse in the coming weeks and months.

“Definitely populations that we’re most concerned about are the advanced age, those that are pregnant, those that may have a suppressed immune system, or other long term problems such as diabetes, heart problems, lung problems, or the young of age, young children especially under the age of two,” Dr. Julie Beard said.

The flu and pneumonia can be hard to set apart. Pneumonia is usually a complication of the flu, but their symptoms are typically similar.

The flu causes body aches, fever, chills, sore throat, congestions, and a cough. Pneumonia causes fever and chills as well, but typically includes chest pain, a productive cough, and shortness of breath.

Dr. Beard says without treatment it can take a bad turn.

“If you have pneumonia, and you don’t seek treatment when you need to seek it, there can be some serious repercussions. Sometimes you need to be placed on oxygen, sometimes aggressive antibiotics including IV antibiotics need to be done, and some of the more serious consequences would be things where you could fall into a coma or even death,” Beard said.