ERs, urgent cares packed with patients

December 27, 2012 8:09:13 PM PST
Doctor's offices and urgent care centers across the Triangle are filling up with people battling all kinds of illnesses while they're home for the holidays.

For doctors like Christopher Chao, the patients have been coming non-stop. This is not your normal flu season.

"Well, this year is definitely worse compared to last year," said Chao. "It's hit hard! It's hit early!"

The state's count of flu-related deaths is already at 14.

Hospitals and urgent cares across the area are overrun with cases of strep throat, norovirus, and what Chao calls "the fake flu."

"It's not the flu, but you're still sick," said Chao. "And that's really true about this -- is that whether or not it is -- it doesn't matter because you're still feeling bad and still feeling sick."

Jeremiah O'Connor is a N.C. State grad student who is sidelined by strep.

"Really tired and groggy, been sleeping a lot," said O'Connor. "My throat is really sore -- felt nauseous, really bad headache."

With local emergency rooms jammed with patients with flu-like symptoms, O'Connor opted for the urgent care.

"That was just packed," he said. "I mean there were so many people there."

Making matters worse is a new strain of flu that is popping up in patients who have already received this year's flu vaccine.

"Now, that's no reason not to get the flu vaccine, because there are still a lot of other flu viruses that are protected or covered by the flu vaccine," said Chao.

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