Flu yet to peak in Philadelphia area

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January 15, 2014 4:09:20 PM PST
For a nurse working in primary care, this can be a very busy time of the year.

Pennsylvania has had 'widespead' flu for weeks. Activity has been on the rise in New Jersey and Delaware.

But flu isn't the only ailment showing up at walk-in clinics, offices, and emergency departments.

It's been busy at the Q Care center, inside the Shoprite in East Falls.

Nurse practitioner Leslie Burton told Action News she is seeing a lot of upper respiratory infections, including the flu.

Along with cough, sore throat and congestion, the other tell tale signs of the virus come on quickly.

"They're having these body aches, they feel just really bad, really fatigued, fevers that persist, take Tylenol and it comes back," says Burton.

The flu strikes all ages, but this year's predominant strain, H1N1, is particularly bad for young to middle-aged adults.

One reason could be that many skip the flu shot.

Jon Davis of Texas did. He's recovering now, but spent time in the hospital due to the flu.

"I've never been that sick- ever," says Davis.

If you catch it early, medication such as Tamiflu can help.

But your best defense is good hand-washing and the flu shot.. It's not too late to get one, and it doesn't just help you.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's Chief Medical Editor, told us, "When you get a vaccine against the flu, you're helping protect others around you who for various reasons, might not be able to get vaccinated themselves."

Nurse practitioners say their rapid testing kits are also picking up some cases of strep throat.

"People coming in not necessarily with a cold or cough symptoms but just very bad sore throat, some fevers," says Burton.

She says it is mostly adults who are coming down with strep, similar to what CareSTAT, a walk-in clinic in Abington, is also seeing.

There's no vaccine to prevent strep, and you will need to see your healthcare provider to be tested, and for antibiotics to treat it.

Overall, the flu and other respiratory illnesses aren't any worse than in years past. Last week, the CDC reported that cases have peaked in southeastern states, where the outbreak got off to an early start.

But Dr. Besser says it has yet to peak in Pennsylvania and the northeast.

Even when it does peak, " Be careful of that downslope, because there's still a lot of flu virus going around."

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