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What’s making so many of us sick? NJ docs say viruses making the rounds

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If you’re feeling exhausted, achy and you’re blowing your nose every once in a while, welcome to the club.

Lots of Garden State residents are still functioning but feeling kind of crummy these days, and many are wondering what kind of a bug they’ve got.

Turns out there’s no easy answer.

According to Dr. Peter Carrazzone, president-elect of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, and a physician with Vangard Medical group, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what kind of virus is affecting most people in New Jersey because “there’s so many different strains and types that have a lot of things in common.”

“Many of them cause fatigue. A lot of time, you’ll have low-grade temperatures or no temperature at all.”

“Some of these viruses can drag on. You really don’t feel well for three weeks.”

According to Carrazzone, “there’s no medicine that cures it and it’s totally symptomatic, so basically you have to take care of yourself so your body can develop antibodies. That means rest, fluids, good nutrition.”

Dr. Robert Silverbrook, medical director of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Associates primary care practice in Hamilton, agrees.

“With viruses, they burn themselves out in your system. But during the time that you have them, drink plenty of fluid, get as much rest as you can, and take non-steroidals like Advil or Aleve, or Tylenol,” he said.

Silverbrook noted many patients he’s seeing these days rhinovirus, adenovirus, or respiratory syncytial virus.

“They all cause you to feel washed out. Some may give you a low-grade fever and they all will give you some rhinorrhea (a runny nose), and some patients with certain viruses will also develop a cough that can last as long as a month.”

When asked if the change of seasons can cause someone to come down with one of these viruses, Carrazzone said this is nothing more than an old wives tale.

“Change of seasons don’t bring on illnesses,” he said.

Sniffling and sneezing right now is not being caused by allergies, even though we’ve had some unusually warm weather recently, because those symptoms “are triggered when the pollen count goes up and that’s not happening yet.”

Contact reporter David Matthau at

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