Q&A on flu season with Upstate expert - FOX Carolina 21

Q&A on flu season with Upstate expert

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(Source: Associated Press) (Source: Associated Press)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Flu season is upon the Upstate and with many falling ill, some are wondering how this season compares to others.

FOX Carolina's Joe Gagnon sat down with Dr. Ryan Hoffman, flu expert and medical director of emergency services at Bon Secours St. Francis. Here's what Joe asked:

Q: Flu has been a problem this year, hasn't it?

A: Absolutely. We've seen a tremendous increase in flu cases over the last couple of weeks. Just since Sunday at our two campuses we have 60 confirmed cases with numerous other patients that didn't get tested or tested positive.

Q: How does this year compare to other years?

A: It's a significant increase, a 50-percent increase. Last year flu season was very mild. I think we got lured into a false sense of security but this is a significantly more active flu season. DHEC and the CDC are looking at widespread flu throughout the southeast.

Q: What can people do to not get it?

A: The biggest thing is wash your hands. Flu can get on different surfaces, shopping cart handles, door handles, so you are going to move around and get exposed. So that's probably the biggest thing. Getting your flu shot. Even though the shot isn't perfect protection, it provides some protection and limits the severity of the flu. If you do have the flu, try to avoid others. Cover your cough, sneeze, wash your hands.

Q: The flu can be very, very severe right?

A: Right, the flu is not just a bad cold. You will feel pretty terrible for several days: fever, chills, aches, pains, lots of cough. Lots of our patients complained of a bad sore throat, feels like sandpaper in their throat, hard to breathe, hurts to breathe, lots of pain and little children get vomiting and nausea as well so it's pretty miserable for several days.

Q: Do you run into people with those symptoms who may not have the flu?

A: Absolutely. They may have influenza-like illnesses where they have many symptoms... cough, fever, aches and pains, but their flu test is negative. Often times we won't even test people. You come in and have cough cold, chills, aches and pain so we give you supportive care, advise you that you have the flu and keep you out of work or school while you get better..

Q. One pharmacist we know says they have gone through a lot of TamiFlu, is that something you've seen?

A: TamiFlu is an option for the flu, but it's only useful if you start within two days of symptoms and it will shorten it a half day to a day. One of its biggest effects is that it will actually decrease the chances of you spreading it to others. It may not get you better faster but it will keep you from getting other people sick.

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