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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Next Care Urgent Care said it has seen a 50 percent increase in patients complaining of upper-respiratory infections, which includes sore throats, coughing and other coldlike symptoms.

Next Care physician assistant Travis Turk said air pollution and ozone are especially problematic for people with asthma, allergies and COPD. He said in most cases the upper-respiratory problems can be treated with over-the-counter medications but other cases require a visit to the doctor.

"If the person is having trouble breathing, has a high fever or a cough they can't control, then it's certainly warranted to follow up with your doctor or see an urgent care."

Whether air quality is the cause of upper-respiratory infections or not is a point of debate.

"That has been a hot button issue and the pollutants in the air can certainly exacerbate the symptoms but it is the cause? Possible."

Turk said the upper-respiratory infections are taking about a week to 10 days to run their course.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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