More people head to the doctor when humidity is high - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/16/10

More people head to the doctor when humidity is high

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By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - If you've spent anytime outside recently, I'm sure you've noticed the humidity.  Now one area doctor says this summer's weather is filling his waiting room with patients.

Normally here in Lubbock during the summer, dew points are in the 60's, but lately we've seen them as high as the 70's, and with all this recent moisture in the air, the changes have caused many to get sick.

On a typical summer day in July Raymond Kennedy couldn't think of a better way to spend his time then on a lake. "It's fun fishing, I don't like to be at home all the time," said Kennedy. Kennedy has asthma, "It's hard to breath and you can't hardly sleep at night."

His mother Renee Wilson says this summer has been especially hard on him. "He doesn't do very well, I mean he is dealing with it, but it's hard, we've been to the doctor like three or four times already in the last two weeks, because of the humidity," said Wilson.

Dr. Kerry Hendershot with Covenant Health Plus says his family practice has been filled with patients like Kennedy, who are also experiencing respiratory problems lately.

"In the summer, we count on it being a slower time for us, but it has really been quite hectic for us this summer, so it's been a busy year," said Hendershot.

Dr. Hendershot says with the increased humidity more people are experiencing symptoms like running nose and coughing, but he says you need to watch it because it could get worse.

"If it develops into more where you are having a productive cough, shortness of breath, lung issues, then we need to re-evaluate again, because a proportion of those people for some reason will develop pneumonia and we've had several patients who have had pneumonia following that," said Hendershot.

Not just people with lung problems are having trouble with this recent weather.

"I don't have asthma but I cough a lot sometimes when it gets real humid and sometimes I go and walk and when it's real hot, I have to just sit down and take breaks and breath in and out, said 11-year-old Eric Johnson.

That's probably not a bad idea for anyone who's out and about this steamy summer.

"It's hot, it's muggy, it's ugly," said Wilson. Dr. Hendershot advises people to keep up with good hand washing, not to ignore symptoms, and limit your exposure outside if it gets too bad.

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