Doctors warn patients to seek medical attention quickly as flu kills young, otherwise healthy people

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 10: Dr. Anne Furey Schultz examines Alice Corcoran, who was experiencing flu-like symptoms, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on January 10, 2013 in Chicago City. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu is widespread in 41 states. The CDC has reported 22,048 flu cases from Sept. 30 through December 31, 2012 compared with only 849 for the same period last year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Doctors are calling this year’s flu the worst they’ve seen in a decade. It’s killing healthy people, and it’s killing them fast.

“He was a fastidious, nutrition conscience person, he would never eat foods that weren’t good for him, and he’s still gone,” said Steve Overton, a former News Channel 8 employee, referring to his best friend and former colleague, Joe Morrison who was an editor for News Channel 8. Morrison died earlier this month, days after coming down with the flu.

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Doctors are trying to make sense of why scores of seemingly healthy adults and children have died from this year’s flu strain.

“Unfortunately we don’t know why some people who are perfectly healthy will die from any particular kind of infection,” said Dr. Lou Romig, medical director for After Hours pediatric urgent care. “We think the infection is just so violent or so strong and aggressive that the body’s immune system just can’t keep up with it and can’t help fight the infection it goes like a steam train and just rolls over you and kills you very very quickly.”

If you think you have the flu, you may have “difficulty breathing, an abrupt change in behavior, agitated, very sleepy, difficult to arouse, severe pain anywhere,” Romig said.

Too many people try to wait out the flu, but if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, doctors say you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

“When I see my friend is gone and I hear the agony of his wife, it comes home for me. The flu is serious and it’s a reminder to me, not to mess around,” said Overton.

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