Tulsa Doctors See Increase Of Flu Patients

Friday, January 2nd 2015, 6:23 pm
By: Tess Maune

The CDC has declared a nationwide epidemic for the flu that's hitting with a vengeance.

Oklahoma's health department said the flu has already killed nine Oklahomans and the number of hospitalizations for the flu hasn't been this high, this early, in five years.

12/31/2014 Related Story: Number Of Oklahoma Flu-Related Deaths Up To Nine

Doctors said they have definitely noticed an increase in patients as waiting rooms are packed, full of people with fevers, coughs, sore throats and aching bodies.

With a constant flow of foot traffic, it's one of the busiest flu seasons in recent memory, according to Warren Clinic Urgent Care Physician, Dr. Chris Abshere.

“It has been non-stop,” he said. “It's been a crazy two to three weeks here at Urgent Care. We've been busier than we've ever seen it the last 15 years, at least, as far as flu seasons go.”

Abshere said the holidays are always a busy time of year, but this season he estimates the clinic has seen about 50 percent more patients.

The majority, the doctor said, have come down with the flu.

12/30/2014 Related Story: CDC: Flu Outbreak Reaches Epidemic Level

“A lot of people have come in, did the right thing, got their flu shot or their flu mist and they're still getting sick, maybe not quite as sick, but they're still getting sick,” said Abshere.

He said this year's flu vaccine is only about 40 to 50 percent effective. That's because people are being infected with strains that weren't covered by this season's vaccine.

So Tamiflu has become a best friend to many, if they can find it.

“We've run into that this week, that they've run out of the Tamiflu medicine that treats it at several local pharmacies,” Abshere said.

That has not been a problem over at Economy Pharmacy in south Tulsa. The shelves there are stocked full of Tamiflu, despite a high demand.

“It's been busy,” said pharmacist, Kerry Mose. “We're seeing whole families come in for Tamiflu, either one member has the flu and the others are also getting Tamiflu for prophylaxis, so we're definitely moving through it.”

To keep from spreading, doctors said if you feel sick, especially if you have a fever, stay home. They also said to wash your hands as often as possible and cover your mouth when you cough.