Flu season arrives early in Union County

Dec. 06, 2012 @ 06:19 PM

According to the chief medical officer at Carolinas Medical Center-Union, flu season has made its way to Union County and nearby areas.

Recent reports have said that flu season has come earlier this year and is already affecting a number of people.

"It is definitely an early flu season and we have anecdotal evidence based on the volumes of flu-like illness that we're seeing in the (emergency department) and the number of admissions we're having," Dr. Dan Hagler, chief medical officer at CMC-Union, said.

About three weeks ago, there were about five cases of flu in Anson County but it hadn't been seen yet in Union County.

"It was confirmed in our Anson (emergency department) a couple weeks ago and we hadn't really seen it here, but we're seeing it like everybody else is."

There were sporadic cases of it before Thanksgiving and two weeks later, now everyone is sick. It's hitting kids and young adults harder, he said.

Despite the flu already affecting many, it's never too late to get a flu shot inside a flu season. Flu season usually runs from late October to early March or April. Even though you get a flu shot, you have to remember that you're not fully protected for two weeks, he said.

 He's recommending hospital staff and others to wear masks to help avoid the flu. He also recommends this for those who get flu shots late and are waiting the two weeks before the shot takes full effect. Washing your hands and covering coughs can also help, he said.

"It appears to be an early, widespread and preliminarily more severe flu season than the past two years," he said.

When a person gets the flu, they are usually sick about a week. During that time, the person may experience relatively severe aches, fever and coughs, he said.

"I think the key thing now is keep your kids home, stay home from work, go to the doctor if you're high risk or if you have severe symptoms," he said in reference to what to do if you encounter the flu.