Local doctors find challenges with highly-active flu season
The flu epidemic is reaching nearly every state in the country, and we're still months away from the end of the season.
Doctors are looking for ways to treat patients as quickly as possible. They say flu cases here are coming in almost daily.
The Centers for Disease Control is already calling this a "high activity" flu season. And it doesn't look like it's slowing down.
Heath professionals tell WSBT 22 the challenge is getting people in early for treatment.
Ray Kadi owns University Commons Pharmacy in Mishawaka. He says they're seeing a higher request for Tamiflu compared to years past.
"All ages and we are dispensing capsules and the syringe for kids. When we see our patients it's mostly severe when they tell us what's going on,” said Kadi.
Dr. Jacob Tuttle at Michiana Direct Primary Care says he prescribes Tamiflu for his patients, but some miss the window of opportunity for it to work effectively.
“If you come to the doctor after 48 hours and you're otherwise healthy, you don't have any big medical problems, then generally Tamiflu at that point is not going to benefit and the virus just has to run its course,” said Tuttle.
In December the CDC said every state except Hawaii was experiencing high flu activity.
But this recent data shows some states are finally seeing relief.
Kadi says he has some ideas why the flu is impacting so many.
"During the flu shot season there was a lot of negative talk about the flu shot. There was a lot of social media down-talking the flu shots. I know personally a lot of our customers that usually take the flu shot and they don't want to take it because of what they read on Facebook,” said Kadi.
Kadi says the other reason could be the type of viral strains. Around 80 percent of flu cases involved the H3N2 strain. The CDC says that strain is harder to prevent and causes health complications, but it's not the only strain of flu going around.
Tuttle says if you decide to get a flu shot now, it could help protect you from those other strains. But you may still get sick.
"We're in cold season when we're getting the shot. So you have to keep that in mind. If you end up getting the flu shot right now and you get sick a few days later – it might just be an incidental thing and not something the flu caused,” said Tuttle.
Health experts say flu season is still not over. They expect a few more months of sickness.
Doctors say the best way to tackle the flu quickly is by going to the doctor when you first see symptoms.