Preparing for Fall cold, flu, allergy season

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Next weekend will usher in the start of fall, and along with it, the dreaded cold, flu and allergy seasons.

The season typically runs from October to as late as May, but CHI St. Alexius pediatrician, Dr. Sheila Ponzio says activity tends to peak between December and February.

Dr. Sheila Ponzio says this time of year sees an increase in patients because kids are back to school.

According to the CDC, schools and daycares are considered "hot zones" for germs.

They say kids are most likely to get colds in the fall and winter months because they're now indoors and viruses love low humidity.

Dr. Ponzio says right now the Williston area is seeing a lot of what is widely known as the "common cold" going around.

"We tend to have a lot of upper respiratory viruses, several different kinds. Some are pretty harmless and others are quite serious like influenza," said Dr. Ponzio.

Dr. Ponzio says they have not seen influenza in this region yet, but says it is coming and highly recommends people take the necessary precautions. She says they have seen a increase in another virus that typically spreads among children.

"We have seen a lot of what people typically call Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Williston right now," said Dr. Ponzio. "It's a virus that is going around daycares and preschools. Its not serious, but uncomfortable. It can cause some fever and rashes and discomfort. Again, the main thing there is dehydration. So the bottom line there is if your child has a fever or feels uncomfortable, push the fluids, treat the fever and see how they do. If they have worrisome signs and symptoms, than you have to see a provider."

Dr. Ponzio says the first step of prevention is teaching your kids the importance of washing their hands with soap and warm water throughout the day.

CHI will being holding a Flu Shot Clinic on Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Their is no appointment needed, you just need to bring your insurance card.