Local doctors help prevent flu

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 07:29 PM

An abmormally early flu season has local doctors on the lookout and on guard to help prevent the illness.
Dr. James Anderson, a pediatrician at Cornerstone Pediatrics at Premier, said this season has been one of the worst he’s seen in awhile.
“About 10 years ago we had a pretty significant season but then there was the absence of the vaccine.”
Anderson attributed the numbers to the early season.
“In North Carolina we usually see the season between January and March so this is definitely an early flu season which may account for the number of positive cases we’ve seen. People usually wait until October or November to get the shot,” Anderson said. “We tallied it up from Monday to Thursday and we had 65 positive flu cases just in those four days.”
Dr. Monica S. Carter at Cornerstone Internal Medicine at Westchester said she has seen more cases this year than she has seen in previous years.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of influenza, mostly A and strep throat as well as the usual sinus infection,” she said. “There has been an explosion of the flu and upper respiratory infections in general and there are more cases than I’ve seen in the past.”
Dr. Carter said that she had not heard if the flu vaccine has been ineffective but she warns that the vaccine does not keep a person from getting the illness.
“The vaccine does not prevent from getting the flu, it just prevents them from getting a bad case of the flu,” she said. “If you’ve had the vaccine less than a month ago you are still at risk of getting the flu. If it has been more than a month, then if you get the flu, symptoms should be less than a person who didn’t get the vaccine.”
Anderson agreed that he has seen some vaccine failure but the symptoms were much less than in patients that had not received it.
“One difference in kids and adults is that the first time a kid gets a flu vaccine, they should get a booster dose one month later,” Anderson said. “In subsequent years they’ll only need one.”
Anderson said the State Vaccine Program has also allows his office to administer flu vaccines to parents as well as children.
“We’re really trying to encourage everyone that hasn’t gotten a flu shot to get one,” he said.