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Flu symptom patients flood hospitals

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PIEDMONT, N.C. -- Patients running a fever, coughing and with the aches are flooding Piedmont's hospitals.

Between Moses Cone, Annie Penn, Wesley Long, and MedCenter their emergency rooms see about 550 patients each day. 

This past Monday, those four hospitals saw more than 800, one in every eight had flu-like symptoms. 

Since hospital emergency rooms are slammed, the wait times are long. 

Urgent Care clinics, like General Medical Clinic in Greensboro, are seeing the overflow of patients.

"Rather than sit there and wait six to eight hours sick among hundreds of other sick people so yes, the emergency rooms are crowded which is very early for this season," explains Dr. Dwight Williams, with the General Medical Clinic. 

This is one of the most severe and earliest flu seasons Dr. Williams has seen. 

"We did have a warmer than normal last winter which may have caused a different strain to become stronger.  We did not have the immunity that may have been brought out by a strong flu season," says Dr. Williams.

Since October 3, the Alamance Regional Medical Center has run 154 flu tests. 

15 have come back positive, eight of those came through Monday. 

Severe cases can turn into pneumonia or can be deadly. 

North Carolina has seen two flu related deaths; both were in Forsyth County. 

Dr. Williams says it makes getting a flu shot even more of a must. 

"You don't get the flu from the vaccine.  Some do get a reaction which is an upper respiratory or cold like symptoms but much, much less.  Nothing like the flu," says Dr. Williams.