Flu surge sweeps Virginia

Posted at 6:12 PM, Dec 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-21 18:12:48-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - It’s the last place people want to be around the holidays: the doctor’s office.

"We're probably seeing 20-25 percent more patients than we usually do," Dr. Scott Greenfield, family physician at Patient First, said.

In fact, finding parking at just about any patient first in the Richmond area this week may really try your patience. The clinics are packed with people experiencing the respiratory flu.

"We're seeing a big upswing in the flu just in the last two and a half weeks,"  Greenfield said.

The flu surge is packing clinic parking lots across Virginia according the Center for Disease Control reports. The CDC monitors influenza like activity levels across the country.

On a color coded map found on the CDC website, it shows that Virginia is among several states in the southeast that are in the high level category for the flu and it’s considered widespread this week.

On top of that it's making folks just plain miserable.

"Severe body aches, pains, headaches, sometimes a cough," Greenfield said.

Heather Strakele got her three-year-old the flu mist this year to prevent miserable from coming to her house.

"They're always sharing different bugs and things , " Strakele said of her three-year-old best friend.

Strakele has been lucky so far but doctors say this latest flu strain may not be completely covered even with a flu vaccine.

"We are seeing some people perhaps more than usual coming in and saying I got my flu shot but I'm still getting the flu," Greenfield said.

So the best advice doctors give is to keep your hands clean -- and if you're sick stay home because you can be contagious for seven days.

"Who knows she may still get it but at least you're doing everything you possibly can to try and avoid it," Strakele said.