Flu bug bites Georgia hard

The masks tell the story. At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston's emergency department, many staffers are wearing extra protection, and for good reason.

Children's is seeing a record number of patients coming into its emergency departments and urgent care centers, up to 30 % higher than its typical wintertime peak.

And the number of flu infections is up about 50% from this time last year.

It's pretty busy here at Piedmont Urgent Care by WellStreet in Virginia Highland, too.

"It's a bad flu season, much worse than usual," says Dr. Nelson Yeun, medical director at Piedmont Urgent Care by WellStreet.

Dr. Yuen says this is the ugliest flu season he's seen in a while. Right now, the Georgia Department of Public Health says the outbreak remains a "10 out of 10" in terms of intensity.

"More people are getting sick, more people are getting hospitalized, more people are dying," says Dr. Yuen.

Part of the problem, is the current flu vaccine isn't a good match for the H3N2 virus making many of us sick. Dr. Yen still recommends getting a shot so that you have some protection. And, he says, wash your hands often, and try not to touch your face.

" And really stay away from people who are sick. It's hard, when you have to go to work and all your coworkers are sick. But, if you're sick, you've got to stay home and stay away form people who are sick."

If you do get sick,Yuen says get to the doctor. To confirm you have the flu, and to get a prescription for an antiviral like Tamiflu or Relenza. But you need to move quickly.

"Because with Tamiflu (and the other antiviral) they really only work that first day or two that your sick. Beyond that, they don't work very well," says Dr. Yuen.

You may have to look around to find Tamiflu. The Georgia Department of Public Health says because of the high demand, it's seeing pockets of shortages of the drug across the state. So call your pharmacy to make sure they have it.

Most of us will get through the flu- without ending up in the ER , but Dr. Yuen says the flu can do a number on our immune system, so watch out for secondary bacterial infections.

"You get the flu, you feel alright, but then 3, 5 days later, you start feeling sick again. Fever, cough. What happens if you've gotten pneumonia, sinus infection, ear infection. Very, very common and people get in trouble with that. They think, "Oh, I"m getting better!" Then (they) get worse."