Local clinics see influx of flu patients

By WEEK Producer

Local clinics see influx of flu patients

January 3, 2013 Updated Jan 3, 2013 at 5:38 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The OSF PromptCare office where Dr. Phillip Fifield practices has seen record numbers of patients the past two weeks. The flu is a big reason why.

"Our facility here at Glen Park Place saw 124 patients yesterday, of which an estimated 20 to 30 percent would be influenza patients," said Fifield.

January is generally considered the peak of the flu season. Dr. Fifield says local data indicates that this season's flu outbreak hasn't been any more severe than normal, yet waiting rooms like his are filling up faster.

Fifield suggests getting a flu shot even if you've held out this long.

"The vaccine that was formulated for this year has been generally effective," explained Fifield, "although some people who have been vaccinated are still experiencing influenza."

Fifield adds that most cases of the flu don't require a trip to the doctor. He adds that healthy habits go a long way toward avoiding infection.

"Very careful hygiene, especially hand hygiene, is important," Fifield said. "Washing the hands with soap and water or using alcohol based hand gels frequently during the day."

It's not just doctor's offices that are feeling the flu bug. Drug stores are seeing a steady stream of people shopping for over the counter solutions.

The Take Care Clinic at the Walgreens in East Peoria has also been drawing a crowd. That store's pharmacist explains that most non-prescription medications may only solve part of your problem.

"The products that you purchase over the counter are really aimed at decreasing the symptoms that are associated with those infections, not necessarily treating the underlying infection itself," said Pharmacist Brian Rous.

The best remedy might be doing everything you can to avoid getting sick in the first place.

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