Flu season in full swing, say doctors

Published: Jan. 1, 2013 at 7:54 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The flu is spreading and spreading quickly. This map shows Virginia in the red zone, the highest category of flu cases reported in a state.

Doctors say they are battling three strains of the flu this year and even some who have received the flu shot are getting sick.

Monday, the parking lot at Patient First on East Parham Road had hardly any parking spaces, the waiting room was full, and doctors say the area may be on the verge of a flu epidemic.

Jennifer Stewart is one of those suffering.

"It's just very uncomfortable and you feel very fatigued," said Stewart. "So I just wanted to lie in bed all the time rather than do anything!"

And her symptoms would come as no surprise.

"A cough, scratchy throat, a lot of congestion, head ache, a lot of aches and pains," said Stewart. "So I think generally just the stuffiness and feeling like the commercials for medication."

"They're very miserable," said Dr. Thomas Murphy, with Patient First. "Some of them will tell you they feel like they've been hit by a truck when the come in. So, it is pretty bad this flu season."

Doctor Murphy says Virginia is getting hit especially hard right now.

"We're still on the upward trend according to the CDC," said Murphy. "As a matter of fact Virginia's in the red zone, so we're reporting high incidents of influenza throughout the state."

Jennifer Stewart got a flu shot, but doctors say there are more strains of flu this year than the flu shot covered.

"We've been having a little bit of a problem too because the strain has changed a little bit," said Murphy. "So I think there's going to be a little bit more of a higher infectivity level cause the vaccine may not be as effective."

There are three strains of the flu this year and doctors say it is possible to get all three. Doctors say your best defense is still the flu shot.

Doctors say flu virus can actually spread up to 6 feet. So, if you're sick and you want to keep your friends from getting sick too, it's a nice idea to wear a mask like this one around other people. And at a minimum, you can just wash your hands regularly.

Doctors say even though the flu shot doesn't work for everyone, it works for most people and it at least weakens symptoms if you do get the flu. It is not too late to get one.

Week by week map of flu cases this year: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/Epidemiology/Surveillance/Influenza/WklyPhysReport.pdf

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