Flu top of mind after 21 deaths in the Carolinas

Flu top of mind after 21 deaths in the Carolinas

Flu top of mind after 21 deaths in the Carolinas

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:43 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- People fighting the flu are swarming doctor's offices, hospitals and pharmacies looking for relief.

Doctors say if you get it, expect symptoms to last seven to 10 days.

You can tie the hustle and bustle inside Walkers Drug Store to the flu.

"We've seen it pick up here in the last little bit,” said Pharmacist Jeff Lemelin. 

Customers are trying to prevent the flu by getting flu shots. The unlucky who already have it are seeking remedies like Tamiflu to ease the fever, chills, headaches, body pains and fatigue.

"Once you get it, you almost have to ride it out unless you got Tamiflu early,” Lemelin said.

How bad is it?

The Center for Disease Control now says the flu is widespread in North Carolina, where 13 people have died this flu season. The flu is regional in South Carolina, where at least nine have died this flu season.

This year's predominant flu strain is called H1N1. It affects all ages, but is known to be particularly troublesome for young and middle-aged adults. Twelve of the 13 who died in North Carolina since the flu season started in the fall were between 25 and 64-years-old.

Doctors recommend everyone gets a flu shot.

"The best thing we can do to prevent the flu is getting the flu vaccine, and then or course if you are already having flu-like symptoms, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, especially is they are rapid and onset, the best thing for patients to do is stay home from work and stay out of school; do not expose others to their same symptoms,” said Dr. Shanu Kurd with Mecklenburg Medical Group.

But some folks like Prunchetta King avoid the flu shot on purpose, not wanting to deal with potential side effects.

"I want to trust my immune system to fight off whatever it needs to fight off,” she said.

The CDC says about 145 million flu vaccines have been produced for the Unites States.

Dr. Kurd says her office has enough supply, as does the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Back at Walkers, they're getting calls from some doctor offices asking for more.

Doctors also say washing your hands should be top of mind during flu season. Also, stay away from sick people and stay home if you are sick.

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