Triad sees spike in flu cases

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The waiting room at Novant Health Urgent Care in Greensboro has been full the past few days and the physician there, Dr. Davis Cloward, says most of the patients have the same thing -- the flu.

"Pretty much since the weekend we've been seeing many cases," he said. "Five, six, seven cases a day."

Cloward says this is the first peak of this year's flu season and it may not be the last. He says, oftentimes, a flu season will have two different peak times.

Cloward says it's difficult to determine causation behind a flu outbreak, but increased socialization during the holidays could be part of it.

"I had the misfortune of informing many people who had flown across the country or from other states that their Christmas they really should not be with all the other children, grandkids and the grandparents," Cloward said. "It's kind of a shame, but that's just what we have to do."

Because of the high number of cases, some Piedmont pharmacies are running low, or are temporarily out, of Tamiflu, which is often prescribed to treat the flu.

Michelle Cline, a pharmacist at Jonestown Pharmacy in Winston-Salem, does have the drug in stock.

"We've been getting a lot of phone calls from the chain stores that are in the area saying that their warehouses are out and so they're unable to get it at all," she said. "We're very fortunate that we have a different wholesaler so we haven't had the same problem."

Cline says it's been several years since she can remember a Tamiflu shortage this widespread.

"It must have been 2005," she said.

To stay healthy, Dr. Cloward recommends getting lots of rest and keeping your distance from those who feel ill.

He says he has seen some patients come in with the flu that did get their flu shot, but nonetheless he recommends getting a shot if you haven't already.