‘Dramatic increase’ in number of flu patients

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- State health officials say eight people have died from the flu virus this season as all major medical facilities in the state tighten restrictions on visitors.

"We're seeing a dramatic increase in the number patients coming in with influenza," said Dr. David Massey, a physician at Cone Health's Kernersville Urgent Care. "For most people the flu vaccine works because we are not seeing the ones that got the flu shot."

Dr. Massey says the major warning signs you have the flu is when symptoms hit you all of a sudden and to battle the virus you have to start early.

"Compared to last year we are seeing an earlier hit," said pharmacist Dave Marley with Marley Drug. His drug store started receiving an increase in prescriptions for Tamiflu two weeks ago. Despite other large retail pharmacy's dealing with a lag in a supply for Tamiflu, independent drug stores like Marley Drug have been able to meet demand. "The Tamiflu is effective but you got to get it in, in the first 72 hours to really have it work at full strength."

Doctors say the flu shot is not perfect but it remains your best line of defense this season along with good hand washing. ​

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