Widespread Flu Epidemic Taking Bite Out Of NYC

Doctor: Don't Try To Be A Hero And Tough It Out

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It seemed like a quiet flu season this year, but the risk is growing rapidly. New York is showing a dramatic increase in the number of serious infections and emergency room visits, and doctors are trying to figure out the reason.

“I feel so miserable,” Chelsea resident Lisa Roberts-Lehan said. “I haven’t been this sick in years.”

Roberts-Lehan was suffering through the flu outside a 24-hour clinic, and she’s not alone. The Centers for Disease Control is reporting widespread cases of influenza in several states this New Year, mostly in the south – and in New York, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

“It’s in my chest, it’s in my head, I’ve been sleeping all day long,” Roberts-Lehan said. “I didn’t even think I’d be able to make it here today.”

New York City’s Health Department has released some startling numbers. There were about 200 flu cases a day in October and some 300 cases in November, with similar numbers in early December.

Right around Christmas, however, flu cases spiked to about 500 cases a day. Around the New Year, save for a brief dip, the flu in the city is widespread.

“It’s not unusual. This is the time of year when we begin to see an uptick in influenza cases,” said Dr. Bruce Polsky of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.

Dr. Polsky, an internist, said it’s no wonder flu cases are spiking after the holidays – everyone’s been in airports, stuck in public places, wiping noses and sneezing into the open air. It’s the perfect combination to lead to a trip to the emergency room.

“There’s a lot of social activity during the holidays, a lot of opportunity,” Dr. Polsky said.

Once a patient gets to the ER, doctors say their job is to keep the symptoms from getting any worse, but for most patients the flu can be treated at home.

“It usually starts off with headache, body aches, fever, runny nose, sore throat, things like that,” emergency room Dr. Juan Arozco said.

Orozco said those symptoms are typically treatable with over-the-counter medications and preventable with frequent hand-washing. He said the danger, though, comes from patients trying to tough it out.

“Don’t ever wait too long,” Dr. Orozco said. “If you feel that this is something beyond a cold, definitely seek some medical attention.”

That’s exactly what people like Roberts-Lehan are doing – heading to the doctors, and then hoping for relief.

  • http://muneymom.wordpress.com muneymom

    Guess they have to do something to freak people out, like lasts years swine flu virus…Personally I don’t take the flu shot, I have taken 4 times my whole life and each of those times I have gotten incredibility sick, worse than when I get the typical flu, or H1N1 Like I had last year.

  • matt

    Why dont people smarten up and realize they need to do there own research instead of taking whatever the media feeds them? The flu shot is no where near 100% effective, I have read causes where people have caught the flu from the shot itself. There are no guarantees.

    • Tommy

      Typical uneducated comment. Genius…the flu vaccine is not derived from the actual flu virus. It’s grown in chicken embryos, and therefore IMPOSSIBLE to get the flu from the flu shot!! Get yourself informed, and stop scaring people from getting a shot that could potentially save their lives. Yeah…that’s right….more people die from the FLU every year than any other sickness the world over! Trying to dissuade poeple from getting the shot, especially old poeple, is like playing russian roulette. The only reason some people get the flu shot, yet still get the flu is because the shot only protects you from the most common strains. You can still contract a strain less common, yet not covered by your shot. Understand now, genius?!

  • Kat

    and these people did not get a flu shot WHY??!?!

  • PSulse

    lets see…there was a situation where a whole lot of people were confined to small space around X-Mas…Recall People? Yes, the snow storm. So one can conclude the spread would fr and wide once air traffic started moving again.

  • brighid

    Maybe its 20 weeks and just had a mind freeze

  • Big El

    I had a flu shot two months ago. I still go the flu last week and am finally feeling better. The flu shot is clearly not 100% effective.

    • Turtlr

      The flu shot is not 100% effective in preventing the flu, it helps in reducing the severity of the flu if you get it.

  • greta

    What is going to the doctor going to do? They can’t give you anything for the flu. Just take a hot bath, drink tea and sleep.

  • Israel Hands

    The Flu vaccine was / is free. Also, this vaccine was readily available at minimum cost in areas where it as not freely administered. If you were to busy, too lazy or too stupid not to get the Flu vaccine and you get the Flu, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    • Justin Whatchamacallhim

      Good luck with that poison you injected yourself with. Its very easy to avoid getting the flu without taking that shot. Our immune system was given to us for a reason. Mine works fine without the man made poisons. You should get the insert of that shot your taking next time you roll up your sleeve.

    • Iraq Vet

      Israel Hands, you are a completely brainwashed moron.

      • Iraq Vet

        I can tell, either your a government troll, or you are so stupid that you will be the first in line at the FEMA camps. Mabey it is better that morons like you are killed off?

  • Joe Bone

    Keep those sick NYC freaks out of New Jersey.

  • T sturniolo

    Your story isca bit late…. The flu in NYC has been bad since October…. It went around my entire workplace like wildfire…. Every couple of days another prson or two would contract it! It’s finally going away now after two 10 weeks!!!!!



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