Flu season starts early in Charlotte region

Flu season starts early in Charlotte region

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by ANN SHERIDAN / NBC Charlotte Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— The 2012 flu season is already shaping up to be much different than in years past.  This flu season is starting earlier, and it’s making doctors nervous.

“We’ve been seeing patients everyday with the flu, and we started seeing them probably three to four weeks ago,” said Dr. Charles Bregier of Presbyterian Urgent Care.

It’s unusual.  Flu season usually peaks in January, but the CDC says this season is already off to a dangerous start.

“My throat hurts, light headed, spitting up a lot of stuff, kind of crappy overall,” said Carter Mahoney as he sat in the Urgent Care waiting to be seen.

Mahoney’s coworkers urged him to get tested. He’s not alone.  Bregier said he worked long past normal hours last week seeing patients who were sick.

And the doctor warns that even patients who have had the flu already, could get sick again. Just because you’ve had the flu already, and didn’t get the flu shot, you should still be  vaccinated, he said.

“’We’ve seen patients who say, ‘I’ve had the flu last month.  I’m sick again now.’  You can have the flu two to three times in a particular season,” he said.

Bregier says healthcare workers, teachers, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, children in daycare and students are especially at risk.

Everyone could be nailed by this year’s flu if they're not vaccinated, he warns.

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