by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Local health officials say flu season is well under way in the Charlotte area, and are worrying it will be much worse than last year.
Some pharmacies told Eyewitness News they have sold more flu shots and Tamiflu in the past two weeks than the entire flu season last year.
"We've flown through the Tamiflu. It's unavailable. It's on back order," said pharmacy tech Ben Marshall, who works at Dilworth Drug.
Local doctors' offices are overrun with flu patients seeking appointments.
"I can pretty much tell you when flu season starts, and it was last Wednesday, because that's when the phones started lighting up and people started calling in," said Dr. Jamie Satterfield.
Satterfield, who practices at Arboretum Pediatrics, said he is telling his patients that unless they are part of high-risk groups like young children, the elderly, or pregnant, that they should try to avoid Tamiflu and the doctors' office all together.
"We're trying to educate the people not to be coming in at the first sign of fever, that kind of thing," Satterfield said.
Officials at Presbyterian Hospital said they are seeing, on average, about 40 patients a day at their Urgent Care locations that are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
CMC officials said they have treated 15-20 cases of suspected flu in the emergency room.