NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Doctors across the country are working overtime on Dec. 26 as it tends to be one of the busiest days of the year for sick visits, especially with flu season hitting harder and earlier this year.
“It oftentimes doesn’t start until after December into January, and we saw it a little earlier this year spike this year, even in November,” said Emergency Medical Physician Ty Babcock with Complete Urgent Care in Nashville.
“After that Christmas sort of like holiday atmosphere’s over then we really start to see reality set in if you will,” Babcock told News 2, “We’re had again, air travel, being cooped up with family and now that there’s no Christmas to look forward to everyone’s like, ‘Oh I feel terrible, I should probably go get checked out.'”
Most clinics are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which may force people to go to the hospital emergency room.
“So people were pretty much like, ‘I’ll just wait’ rather than go to the ER,” he explained.
Clinics like Babcock’s are getting all those people now, seeing flu symptoms from miserable body aches to dehydration and respiratory infections.
“We’re not seeing a lot of vomiting with the flu this year, but there is some, and there is some diarrhea, and with the high fever you can get dehydrated pretty quick,” Babcock said.
And many times, without a flu shot or a prescription medicine within 48 hours, it can turn into much more serious issues.
“The biggest concerns with the flu tend to be respiratory. So if you’re feeling short of breath, especially at rest, if you feel like you can’t catch your breath when you’re sitting on the couch, that’s a pretty good sign you need to get seen right away,” he said, adding this year’s flu shot seems to be working pretty good so far, but the next couple weeks will reveal what’s really to come.
“I think in the next week or two we’ll know is it gonna get worse? Is it here for the long haul, or do we just have an early spike?”
But, that’s not all they’re seeing. Right now there’s a stomach bug going around, strep, and an increase in RSV.
“A lot of other respiratory illnesses,” Babcock said, “There’s been a lot of RSV in the kids that are starting to see that causes the really bad cough, and can be dangerous in the less than 6-month population.”
There’s also a newer medicine out now called Xofluza. It’s similar to Tamiflu, helping to shorten the length of time you’re sick if you get the flu. It is a one-dose treatment of two pills and has to be taken in the first 48 hours of symptoms.