The flu: When you should go to the hospital

Susan Brown
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2010 file photo, a nurse practitioner prepares a flu vaccination in Rockville, Md. A puzzling study of U.S. pregnancies suggests that women who received back-to-back flu shots between 2010 and 2012 _ after a new swine flu vaccine came out _ more often had miscarriages. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More people continue showing up at area hospitals suffering from the flu.

The flu has killed 67 people across North Carolina and new cases are popping up every day.

“The onset of flu is earlier this year,” said Dr. Ravi Jhaveri, a pediatrician at UNC Children’s Hospital. “The peak has been as high, if not maybe a little bit higher, than in recent years. So, it certainly feels worse because it’s been earlier and it’s been as bad.”

Jhaveri told CBS North Carolina people who have the flu should be aware of certain warning signs that indicate it’s time to go to the hospital.

One is dehydration.

Children or seniors can be particularly at risk.

“If you’re so sick that you’re not able to keep up with your fluids, you become dizzy,” said Jhaveri. “It may be difficult for you to get enough fluids.”

Jhaveri said flu patients experiencing chest pain or difficulty breathing is also a sign that it’s time to go to the hospital as the flu can lead to heart attacks.

As for the impact to blood donations, Barry Porter, Regional CEO with the American Red Cross, said any time someone shows up to donate blood, volunteers will ask if they’ve recently been sick or had the flu and people who are just getting over it won’t donate.

CBS North Carolina partnered with the American Red Cross for a blood drive at Crabtree Valley Mall Tuesday.

“It’s not the American Red Cross who needs blood, it’s the patients in local hospitals,” said Porter.

Jhaveri said it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

The question is finding one.

He said UNC clinics still have vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control also has a vaccine finder page.

It is still a good idea to call ahead and confirm with a location that the vaccines are still there.

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