Flu bug shows no signs of abating in Bay area

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Bay area hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors’ offices are flooded with sick people.  One local urgent care company has reported a 600 percent increase in flu patients over last year.

Teresa Floyd and her family are recovering from several bouts of the flu. “Three adults and three children have had it,” said Floyd.

Floyd’s family is part of a growing number of people suffering from the horrible flu.  “Pretty bad couple of days. As soon as one would end, the other one would start. So it was pretty bad,” she said.

The deadly epidemic has claimed the lives of 37 children across the country this year. At this time last year, the death toll was at eight.

“This is the worst flu season that I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been practicing,” said Dr. Greg Schwaid from the Centra Care Urgent Care in Tampa.

However, Dr. Schwaid said not everyone who reports the flu has it.

“A lot of these other virus infections that are similar to the flu act very similar. So sometimes I don’t even know until we get the test results back,” he said.

The flu tends to hit children and the elderly the hardest.  “Some of them tested positive for the flu here with a small cough. Other ones in rolling on their death bed are testing positive,” said Dr. Schwaid.

But this year, the virus is hitting baby boomers particularly hard.

“This year, the baby boomers have really replaced their grandchildren in terms of the rate of hospitalization,” said Dr. Dan Jernigan with the Centers for Disease Control.

The drug Tamiflu is often prescribed for those diagnosed in the first two days after coming down with the flu.

“I’m personally not a fan of Tamiflu. I don’t think it’s a very good medication. I think there are a lot of side effects to it. And from what I hear from my patients, it’s expensive,” said Dr. Schwaid.

Teresa Floyd is not taking Tamiflu. “We just treated ourselves. Vitamin C, plenty of liquids, soup, and had em stay in the house” she said.

And again, despite what you’ve heard, the flu shot is your best defense.

Dr. Schwaid said day two and three of the flu are the worst.

Patients usually start to recover on day four and by day seven, you should start feeling like yourself again.

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